Labeling is notoriously imprecise; though my daddy is pretty good when it comes to labeling liberals and conservatives.
He says, "A conservative is somebody who hates to see anything happen for the first time."
"A liberal," according to his dictionary, "is somebody with two feet planted firmly in the air; and when you look into her/his eyes, you can't tell if she/he is having a vision of God or didn't get to the toilet in time."
But even my daddy, when he looks at church and state politics today, admits labeling is notoriously imprecise.
Republicans, by conventional definition, want less government, more individual freedom, and don't want to share their money with the poor.
Democrats, generalizing again, want more government because they don't think people are smart enough to be free and don't like people who have become rich by inheriting or working for it which is why they're not shy about stealing it from them in the name of taxation with decreasing representation.
Independents are double-minded.
Libertarians want to be left alone.
Socialists are naked Democrats.
Non-partisans who actually think for themselves are rare.
Not so surprising anymore, it's hard to distinguish church from state politics by SOPs and praxis.
Content may differ but intent/form is the same.
Substantial divergence yet stylistic similarity.
Ideological fascism has replaced possibilities for conciliation; and forget reconciliation.
Most of today's civil and ecclesiastical politicians are the same.
They're cut from the same cloth.
Convert or destroy.
If they can't take over, they'll pick up their marbles and play somewhere else.
Really, it's getting sooooooo hard to distinguish church from state politics.
The last real liberal that I met was while working on my last worthless degree.
He was Cobb and Griffin's mentor; and if you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself blessed.
Well, I had to write this qualifying paper on "my" theology of ministry.
He gave me an A with this note under the grade: 'It would be nice if you moved out of the 16th century."
Now that's a real liberal!
Real liberals don't really stand for anything while entertaining and enabling everything/everyone.
The last real conservative that I met was...
That's a hard one because conservatives come in all ideological flavors; preserving and promoting what they know is right for them and everybody else and purifying aka inquisitioning (Yep!) anyone who won't conform to whatever they're being conservative about.
That's how real conservatives, uh, operate to dominate.
Real conservatives stand firmly for whatever they stand firmly about while excluding/exterminating everything/everyone disagreeing with 'em.
O.K., all of the preceding is notoriously imprecise.
I told you that labeling was notoriously imprecise in the first clause of the first sentence up top.
The problem is we keep trying to fit into those labels and ideologies and...
It's dividing and destroying us.
There's got to be a better way.
Jesus by the book.
Jesus by the book - just read the red letters for a quick summary - invites, welcomes, includes, and loves everybody with a distinctive agape that really, really, really wants and works for the highest good of everybody regardless of class, color, or culture with no need or expectation for response, regard, or reward.
Unlike the ideological fascisms of our day so notoriously promoted by politics and religion, only Jesus can/wants to reconcile everybody.
Only Jesus loves everybody.
Yeah, read John 3:16-17 again.
According to Luther, and I think he's right or I wouldn't mention this, those two verses are "the gospel in a nutshell."
Only Jesus saves.
Only Jesus wants to save everybody.
Anyone remotely literate knows that...comparatively.
Thinking about today's plague of ideological fascisms, I thought of one of America's most honest theologians, Kurt Vonnegut, who said to conclude a sermon at NYC's St. Clement's Episcopal Church on Palm Sunday in 1980: "People don't come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God. I thank you for your sweetly faked attention."
Well, it's time to pay attention to Jesus first, foremost, always, and only.
If we don't we'll fall for the imprecise labels and the rise of ideological fascism.
Blessings and Love!
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