Conservative or Liberal?
All of my life, I have identified myself as a conservative. This week, someone said to me, “You seem like an odd choice for _______ church – I would have expected someone more conservative.”
Over the last week, I had plenty of opportunity to visit with this woman about all kinds of spiritual issues. I asked what she meant. She said, “it is just that your ideas about some key things seem, well, liberal.”. Specifically, she meant my position towards war, drinking of alcohol, acceptance of other Christian faith traditions, and a few other things.
I don’t think of myself as liberal, I think of myself as Christian.
War. I think it a tragic evil. Yes, I think there is a place for it in our world, but it is not something to be a point of pride, but shame. That it is glorified by Christians and churches just makes the tragedy even greater. The church is about helping people to restore the fractured image of God. War is about degrading that image in the one on both sides of the gun. I am not conservative. I am not liberal. I am a Christian.
Alcohol. As I have already written about, the church whee I am serving is largely in the “Jesus really drank only Welch’s grape juice, and so should we” crowd. I think that is silly. Jesus turned water into wine. I believe that. That doesn’t even strike me in the liberal/conservative level, it simply hits at an intellectually honest level. But, my friend was right, it is certainly seen on that level. I am not conservative. I am not liberal. I am a Christian.
Other faith traditions. I don’t think it is unique to this church, or is denomination to think we have a corner on the truth. For some reason some people find it necessary to find the smallest differences between different churches and make that reason to cast the other in a less than Christian light. We may agree on 99% of Christian doctrine, but that last 1% is worth dividing over. I don’t buy it. Not even for a minute. I wish I knew I had all of my doctrine and interpretations correct. But I actually know the opposite. I can’t expect every else to have theirs perfect. I wouldn’t know it if I saw it. I am not conservative. I am not liberal. I am a Christian.
As to the other stuff….I guess I would rather follow Jesus than try to fit into any kind of label. I am pretty sure I don’t fit in either camp well. I am pretty sure my friend doesn’t either. I am absolutely certain Jesus would offend all sides. It is just who He is.
I am with Him.