From politician to priest

2:04:09
 
Share
 

Manage episode 263048390 series 118651
By Vox Media Podcast Network. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

I first met Cyrus Habib at a conference a few years ago. You don't forget him. He's a Rhodes scholar. Iranian-America. As lieutenant governor of Washington state, he was the youngest Democrat elected to statewide office in the country. And he's blind.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I read a piece in the New York Times that I didn't expect: Habib, who had a clear shot to be the next governor of Washington, is leaving politics to become a Jesuit. He is going to take a vow of obedience, of poverty, of chastity. He is going to give up his phone for years. And most fascinating of all, he doesn’t think of it as an act of sacrifice. “I don’t see it as a shrinking of my world,” he told the Times. "I see it as a shrinking of my self.”

That is not something you read every day. So I asked Habib if he would come on the podcast and talk to me about this decision. The result is a remarkable conversation about Habib’s intertwining faith and political journeys, what you can and can’t achieve through political service, whether religion is the modern counterculture, how the forces of meritocracy and achievement ensnare even their winners, what it means to lead a life of joy, whether freedom comes through choice or constraint, the Jesuit theory of social change, whether a decision like this is selfish or selfless, and so much more.

This conversation takes a bit of a winding path. But where it goes is really, really worth it.

Book recommendations:

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin

Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle

Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon

Laudato Si' by Pope Francis

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

Credits:

Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

353 episodes