Christian, Conservative and Liberal

I am more conservative
Than most conservatives
And more liberal
Than most liberals

Christianly speaking, I am less Christian
Than most Christians
And a worse sinner than most sinners.
Strangely enough, this might actually reveal that I am in desperate need of a liberal amount of God’s restraining grace, steadfast love, mercy and forgiveness.

I have to admit that, more than ever, I am confused by where the line is drawn between liberal and conservative. Furthermore, the line Christians draw between themselves and “the world.”
Perhaps, I am somewhat entertained by these serious drawers of squiggly lines.

As I look and listen to what self-proclaimed “conservatives” are not only saying, but how they are living-I cannot help but wonder about their obvious contradictions.

Seriously, it makes no sense to me for someone to claim to be a “conservative” while fully partaking and participating in a gluttonous, wasteful and destructive consumer lifestyle that has resulted in wasting our time, energy and God given gifts. At the same time, squeezing the life out of our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies and relationships by our voluntary consumption of gluttonous amounts of junk food, junk information, junk entertainment, junk rules, junk ideas and junk doctrines.

And seeing that “conservatives” appear to have the same diet-related disease and sickness, eat the same C.R.A.P. (Soft drinks, processed and fast food), watch the same (mindless) shows, be addicted to the same technologies, shop at the same stores, work the same jobs, need the same pharmaceutical drugs, buy the same products, worship the same golden calf of security, comfort, ease, convenience, money and success and function no differently than the “liberals” they mock and despise, I am forced to ask what does being a conservative actually mean? What is actually conservative about conservatives?

In looking, listening and pondering self-proclaimed conservatives, I cannot help but ask the following questions:
Is a conservative’s judgment, anger or self-righteousness non existent or decently restrained?
Have they managed to tame their tongues and not speak idle words?
Have their words been few and prudent?
Have they weighed themselves, their words, thoughts and deeds in a balance and been found conservative?
Do conservatives exhibit a liberal amount of self-control?
Would their bodies and lives testify to any level of restriction or self-denial?
Have they produced and consumed while demonstrating minimal amounts of greed, gluttony and waste and liberal amounts of care and concern for how their consuming and producing affects their fellow man?
Do they suffer from conservative amounts of rapaciousness or acquisitiveness?
Do they appear to have a small appetite for nonsense, trivialities, junk, amusements, power, control or wealth?
Does a conservative conserve or practice conservation in their own consumer lifestyles?
Wouldn’t a conservative liberally embody and employ strict limits on their own consumption?
Does a conservative think little, live little, carry light loads, speak little, refuse accusation and mindless chatter?

As a conservative, I do try to conserve. I am conscious of my consumption, my waste, my greed and my gluttony. I liberally confess my failure of conserving my words, my anger, my fear, my unnecessary purchases and the time I have been given.

At every level, I am trying to restrain my participation in the matrix, I mean the monoculture, I mean the total rapacious economy. I attempt to live modestly, to eat a modest amount, to reduce my spending, my killing, my spoiling, my poisoning and my sucking life out of this planet. I believe to be fiscally conservative means that I am committed to not spend money on junk, convenience, ease, cheap crap at Wal-mart, Target, the mall, convenience stores and restaurants. Likewise, to keep my car, my clothes, my original face, my already purchased stuff- as long as humanly possible.
I don’t believe conservatives should hoard wealth, might or wisdom. I believe conservatives should liberally give things away and conserve only what they “need.”

In my humble opinion, I believe to be a conservative is to be modest and to live in a way that forces me to take seriously how, where, on what and to who I am giving my energy, attention, money, allegiance and access to my spirit, heart, mind and body. Furthermore, I believe modesty starts with how I live, eat, purchase, talk, think and relate to all of God’s creation and creatures.

As a conservative, I believe the government should be small
And have little to no say about what it’s citizens do in their personal lives.

I believe in holding myself to a higher and stricter standard than a government could ever mandate.
I believe the government’s job is to conserve equality by making it possible that all people have the opportunity and resources to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

I don’t believe that bigger is better or technology should be asked to save us from ourselves.
I believe in local economies, local government, locally ran schools, locally owned businesses, local responsibility and local participation in our local communities.

I believe we are called to be agrarians, gardeners, farmers, builders, artists, homemakers and good neighbors.

I believe food should be locally grown, locally produced and locally sold.

I believe local food should be given to all locals.

I don’t believe in possessing, taking or keeping more than I need.
I don’t believe I should have everything I want
Without making sure my neighbors have
Everything they need.
I don’t honor or esteem rapaciousness and acquisitiveness but abhor these acts of selfishness and violence, especially in myself.
I believe we should love our neighbors
More than our country.
And we should support small businesses and boycott large corporations.
Likewise, we should fight like hell to protect our places and people from being used as a means to some corporate ends.

I believe in the practice of frugality and thrift and the art of homemaking skills.
I believe in respect, restraint and care.
Like Wendell Berry, I believe “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”

I believe that…I am not just a conservative but I am a Christian. Though I don’t believe being a conservative makes you a Christian but being a Christian should make you a conservative and a liberal.

I, too, take the gospels seriously and I also believe that “We must either accept it as an absolute or absolutely reject it.”
Still, I haven’t sold all that I own and given it to the poor or sold all I own and shared with all neighbors like the first Christians did in Acts.
No, I don’t live communally like the first Christians did.
I liberally try to avoid such a literal reading of The Bible.

Christianly speaking, I believe that God created the world and he did it in the length of time he created the world.
Clearly, I cannot calculate God’s time.
Though I do trust in God with all my heart, I do not trust him with all my money. Like you, I try to keep most of my money out of his hands. Because heaven knows, he would ask me to give it all away and follow him. Clearly, I want to follow him from a safe and comfortable distance.

Still, I claim to believe in God the Father, Jesus the God-man and the Holy Spirit.
I believe the Bible is true.
I believe we are to “be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect.”
I believe the Trinity is not just active in changing my heart, but in helping me to change the way I live, move and who I am in my daily life.
I believe that this world is my home
and I am not just passing through
I believe this means
that we have work lots of work to do.
Including prying my greedy little fingers off my money, property, privilege and entitlement.

I believe that God made Adam from adamah.(Humans from humus)
and God breathed his breath into us.

I believe humans beings are divinely designed with a spirit, heart, mind and a physical body that are interconnected, interdependent and interrelated.

I believe human beings are designed to be vulnerable, fragile, weak, sensitive, transparent, desperate and dependent on Love to tell us who we are and how we are designed to be healthy, whole, holy, human beings.

I believe human beings are designed to be receivers and givers of life, love, truth, mercy and justice.

I believe the Bible’s teachings on wealth, might and wisdom are to be understood as today’s literal predatory economy in which we are, for the most part, completely dependent and enslaved.

I believe we should keep the Sabbath and break a lot of man’s sabbath breaking rules and unchristian doctrines.
I believe we are called to lay down our lives and pick up our crosses and imitate the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I believe we should work and worship where we live and live where we work and worship.

I believe our enemies tell us more about who we are than the churches we attend, the political parties we worship, the Facebook posts we curate, the flags we fly, the slogans we repeat and the rhetoric we regurgitate.
I believe we cannot love God unless we love our extreme left or extreme right neighbor.
I believe fear mongering, mocking and demeaning are evil.
I don’t believe scarcity, fear, guilt or shame can produce an abundant or full life.
I believe we actually do know better and we are just refusing to be better and do better.

I believe we cannot solve a problem by throwing either money or experts at it.

I believe we ought to lay down our soul on behalf of our brothers and give our cloaks, as well as our tunics when pressed.
Walk two miles when asked for just one
And give to the orphans, widows and immigrants without the government forcing me.

I believe in abstaining and limiting (as much as humanly possible) from participating
In a gluttonous, greedy and violent total economy.
I am against totalism, rugged individualism, corporatism, capitalism and cronyism.
I believe in a neighborly economy
Built on justice, righteousness
and steadfast love.
I believe we are designed to live in this Triad of Fidelity.

I believe in the virtue of the absurd,
The leap of faith
Hope that goes against hope
And love that is scandalously and liberally given without merit.

I believe in the freedom that moves us
Toward responsibility and choosing what is right, good and true.
I believe in removing the plank from my own eye
Before attempting to remove a speck from
Anyone else’s.
I don’t believe it wise to foolishly answer a fool
with the same foolishness that is making them look, act and live like fools.

I believe in hungering and thirsting for righteousness
Not for the latest fads, fashions, gadgets and amusements.
I don’t believe the government or technology can save us from consuming ourselves to death.
I believe diet-related disease and sickness is the number one indicator that we don’t love ourselves very well or God or our neighbor or our earth.

I believe that lifestyles of luxury and wealth testify to just how destitute and poor we really are.

I believe in a God
who emptied and humiliated himself
Who had no place to lay his head
Nor money to pay his taxes.

I believe in loving my neighbor as myself
And loving God with
All my heart, mind, soul and strength.
I believe this requires living in holy poverty and liberally giving your time, talents, truths and money to your neighbors.

I would like to know where are the conservatives who aren’t consuming, wasting and using anything and everything as means to their own ends to make their own kingdoms come and their own wills be done?

And what does it mean to be a Christian conservative or a conservative Christian?

Does being a conservative automatically make one a Christian? Is a conservative born into Christianity or a christian born into conservatism?
If so, then does a conservative practice christianity conservatively? Is it possible to conservatively die and be resurrected to a new conservative life?

I am pro life.
I believe being pro life
Is not and cannot be just a stance on abortion
But it is interconnected, interrelated and interdependent on all things.
Therefore being pro life is a way of life that is a sacred way of being, living and moving in the world and it starts with me.
It is who I am, a healthy, whole, holy human being who is part of a healthy, whole
And holy creation
With other healthy, whole, holy creatures.

Therefore what I do is an overflow
From a heart that is home to an infinite God
Who calls me to Be pro life
And that determines what and how much I eat
What and how much I drink
What I buy and sell
What I give and receive
How I use my time, money and energy
How I speak
What I think
How I react and respond
What i fill my mind with
And who I give my heart to.

Being pro life is loving my neighbors as myself
And Loving my enemies too.
Being pro life determines and is reflected in how I live in relationship with all creation and with all creatures.

I believe in self-control, gun control and laying down my “rights” for the betterment of creation and it’s creatures.
I believe the most patriotic thing I can do
Is become the very best member of my community that I can possibly be and give my time, talents and truths to help others do the same.
I believe I am called, invited and encouraged to do more than lay down my rights, and I must lay down my pleasures, my desires and even abstain from anything that would cause my brother or sister to stumble.

Strangely, it seems to be more conservative than conservatives somehow automatically calls, encourages, inspires and helps me to be more liberal with love, mercy and justice.

I believe I am called to imitate the most conservative and liberal human being who ever lived (Remember Jesus did not have a home or stuff, did not speak idle words or waste his time worrying about or working for food or clothes) Jesus gave away everything he had ever been given, lived in utter humiliation and still was the most loving, gracious and humble human being who ever lived. Was it not Jesus who liberally emptied himself of everything and yet was accused of being a drunkard and glutton by the conservatives in his day? Strange.

Like Kierkegaard, I believe-

“One single act done in true self-denial and renunciation of the world is infinitely more awakening and more of Christianity than one thousand or ten thousand or one hundred thousand or one million clergymen if they continue in ambiguity as to which is which, whether it is the job, the career, and the perquisites that inspire them or Christianity—if they continue in ambiguity, because if they tell us directly that it is the former, then they do no harm.” Soren Kierkegaard

Obviously, the same truth can be applied to conservatives…

One single act done in true self-denial and renunciation of the world is infinitely more awakening and more conservative than one thousand or ten thousand or one hundred thousand or one million conservatives if they continue in ambiguity as to which is which, whether it is the job, the career, and the perquisites that inspire them…

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