A renewal

October 26, 2016 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

During this insane election year, in which so many assumptions have been turned on their head, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to be ‘conservative.’

Of course, I do not primarily identify with the term ‘conservative.’ I am a Christian. I believe that too many people use the term ‘Christian conservative’ in a way that puts politics first and religion second, so that the term ‘Christian’ modifies the word ‘conservative.’

Those who call themselves ‘liberal Christians’ believe they are doing something different, when in fact they are aping the Religious Right and identifying the values of whatever wing of the Democratic Party they happen to belong to with the Gospel. Neither approach is valid.

The Christian message cannot be boiled down to finding one’s own beliefs in Scripture and therefore validating the message of one’s heart or one’s party.

Having safely put myself above the fray, I can proceed to my question about what it means to think ‘conservatively.’

Conservatism does not equal ‘Republican,’ as the media wants us to believe. Why does the media want us to believe this? Because the media is in the business of selling stories, and stories work best (or at least are best in the time-frame the media has) with binaries. Therefore ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ has equaled ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat.’ (Liberals of the Bernie Sanders type understand that ‘liberal’ does not necessarily equal ‘Democrat.’)

Why then am I focusing on the idea of ‘conservatism’ rather than ‘Christian?’

  1. To sort out and discipline my own thoughts about what it means for me to think of myself as a conservative, and to think ‘conservatively.’
  2. To tease out the idea of both ‘Conservative’ and ‘Christian’ from being ‘Republican.’
  3. To think on what values, attitudes, and actions need ‘conserving’ in my own life, the life of the Church, and the life of the culture.

Finally, why me? And will anyone read this? Why should anyone care what I think? Is this just an exercise in pomposity, as some of my friends and family will have no doubt experienced?

My guess is that there is a frustrated public intellectual within me. And with the technology of blogging, I can exercise that frustration. But also there is a thought, or a question: Do I have something to say? And maybe this becomes an exercise in listening as well.

I guess we will find out the answer.

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Bonhoeffer on stupidity (entire quote) What is the chief end of blog?

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