Thursday, July 3, 2014
Labels and Loyalties
Are you a liberal or conservative?
The labels have changed.
Are you a progressive or traditionalist?
Oh, yeah, there's a third label: centrist/moderate; as in, "I walk down the middle of the road on things so people from all sides will like me and not draw me into their debates because, you know, I'm just, uh, moderately, uh, committed to things like faith, marriage, parenting, patriotism, and..."
People who feel caught in the middle are...
Getting back to liberals aka progressives and conservatives aka traditionalists, my daddy says, "Conservatives hate to see anything happen for the first time; and when you look into the faces of liberals, you can't tell if they're having a vision of God or didn't make it to the potty in time."
Liberals wanna be called progressives because it sounds better than being labeled liberals.
Conservatives wanna be called traditionalists because it sounds better than being labeled conservatives.
It kinda makes me think of that football team in D.C.
Anyway, "progressive" is a good label for people who like to make up stuff in keeping with whatever's good, right, just, and moral for them at the time. They've, uh, progressed from old values, truths, and standards. They're open to "more light" on things.
The "German Church" that didn't go with guys like Bonhoeffer, Niemoller, and other Jesus-loving-Bible-thumping guys comes to mind. That's why it was so open and embracing to...
Progressions are not always positive.
Not all "change" is bad; and, uh, not all "change" is good.
I think of...
"Traditional" is a good label for people who long for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.
Though neither will admit it, traditionalists have a lot in common with progressives because they both make up stuff to bolster their beliefs that seem to change more with their gonads than God.
This is just for Christians.
Did you know Jesus wasn't a traditionalist? Read the red letters. Start with Matthew 15 and 23. Read the reactions of civil and ecclesiastical traditionalists to Him.
Traditionalists are often like progressives in that they pick and choose what they want to, uh, "conserve" to the liking of their, uh, traditions.
O.K., all of that is imprecise; and I'm not really interested in debating those labels because I don't like being labeled and I'm totally convinced until proven otherwise that Christianity is a lot bigger and better and more faithful than those myopically, prejudicially, and superficially distinguishing labels.
For example, every now and then, somebody asks, "What are you?"
I say, "I'm trying to be a Christian."
"No," they go on, "I mean, what are you? Are you a Presbyterian or Methodist or Catholic or Pentecostal or Baptist or...a liberal or conservative or...?"
"No," I continue, "I'm trying to be a Christian."
Then I say being a Christian, to me not to mention 2K years of salvific history, means believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior and trying to honor Him as such with behaviors by the book.
BTW, if you read those red letters in the book, you'll discover Christians don't fit neatly into those other labels that much; because Christians are really liberal about some things like social responsibilities and really conservative about some things like faith and morality.
BTW(2), considering Jesus is God, I prefer to be labeled as His rather than theirs or mine or Presbyterian or Methodist or Catholic or Pentecostal or Baptist or...
If I have to explain that to you, you probably need to start reading those red letters again.
Really, when you think about it, the labels that we accept for ourselves are closely related to our loyalties.
Are we loyal to Jesus by the book or loyal to labels that are often only coincidentally loyal to Jesus by the book?
Dr. Macleod always told me not to end with an interrogative.
Christianity isn't about labels.
It's about loyalty to Jesus by the book.
Blessings and Love!