Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who am I?

People have asked me whether I’m a liberal or conservative. So, what do you think?

My voting history is all over the place. I have been known to almost always split a ticket. I’m more interested in character and ability than party loyalties. I started life as a Kennedy democrat. Breathing in Minnesota air brought me the ideas and ideals of McCarthy, Humphrey, and Mondale. Bill Proxmire was a favorite of mine while I grew up in Wisconsin. Nixon made me ill. Couldn’t stand the lies. Chuck Colson, however, has influenced me. Loved Johnson for his Great Society ideas but was not so fond of his Viet Nam policies. Thought McGovern should have been president. Carter was overmatched in the White House but is still making creative noise today. Reagan surprised me in many ways. Was sorry Libby Dole didn’t make a bigger impact. Loved Bush’s down home spin on things but thought he lost control during his second term. Clinton was interesting. A moral failure who was still able to still get people cheering. I voted for Obama and was hoping Palin would add spice to the campaign. She didn’t.

After reading all of the above I realize that I grew up in a world that, for the most part, marginalized women in the political process. Glad that’s changing.

Conservatives have a shrill voice. As one professor said, “They write with fisted crayon.” Nasty, but I think there's some truth in it.

I wonder if liberals have boundaries or core convictions. I mean if you believe in everything don't you really believe in nothing.

I believe in giving back and leaving a legacy.

Greed created the economic mess we’re in. And greed isn't good.

I’m less concerned about a public display of the Ten Commandments than I am with living them.

I’m not for big government but for enough government. I’m worried that the current debt load we carry as a country will burden the young. I think trickle down works but runs out of trickle towards the bottom of the economic ladder. Then what do we do?

I don’t believe the end of school prayer was the end of civilization as we know it. I don’t think being American is the same as being a Christian.

I don't believe Madelyn Murray O'Hare is still alive and trying to force the FCC to shut down Christian radio and TV. Nor do I believe the government is trying to keep secret hidden pools of oil, enough to solves the oil problem for the next 50 years.

I love living in this country but I'm not an 'our country right or wrong' kind of guy. When good people remain silent democracy implodes.

I’m not afraid of ideas.

I’m a pro-life guy who believes it needs to be a consistent ethic for all stages of life. It's that seamless cloak Cardinal Bernadin used to talk about.

I’m an evangelical Christian who loves and appreciates Catholic thought and action.

I think we’re going to have to build bridges of engagement with Muslims.

I don’t have any firm convictions about ‘end times’ stuff. That means there's some churches I couldn't join. That seems silly but it is true.

Immigration discussions have an ugly sub-text of race. They do. Be honest.

I think most Christian movies are sub-par and not very good at all. I said most, not all.

I believe the church is the hope for the world but wonder why so many church leaders keep on doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Some poor people feel entitled. Most feel trapped by a system that doesn’t work for them. It's a big issue.

The richer you are the more you can cocoon your life. I think that's sin.

What happens around the globe is our responsibility. “To whom much is given much is required.”

I believe in personal responsibility. Bad people who commit crimes need to be segregated from the rest of society in humane ways.

The American dream is not Jesus’ message. Really.

I’m not a fan of Rush Limbaugh or Larry King or Bill Maher. I love to think for myself and not have someone else think for me.

I believe in global warming and that evolution is not anti-bible.

I love to say really liberal things around conservatives and argue conservatively around liberals.

I think no one in heaven will be able to claim they got there on their own. They’ll have to bow to Jesus, and only Jesus, on that one.

I believe in term limits.

I think Palestinians make some valid points.

I believe everything the Nicene and Apostles Creeds tell us.

I like diversity but admit diversity makes things more complex.

My life’s purpose is to assist people in finding meaning for their life. That means I don’t think many people have found meaning.

I don’t believe in retirement unless it’s a move towards something else that has Kingdom value.

I believe suburbs exist for a lot of different reasons. Many of them not good.

As a Christian I have to care about the environment.

The systems I’ve benefitted from have beaten down others.

We need to learn from the past so we don’t recreate its mistakes. However, the more we live in the past the duller we become.

I believe the Bible is the Word of God but I think proof texting is messy and dull. When we use the Bible as a hammer we miss the point.

I don’t think everyone who has marched down an aisle is saved but I love what it represents in a person’s life.

I believe women should be in church leadership. More churches that won't have me.

Racial profiling happens a lot.

I love to express my opinion but realize when I do conservatives will think I’m too liberal and liberals will think I’m too conservative. I don’t like to be written off.

And there it is. Am I liberal or conservative? For sure, I know I don't march in lock-step with some of your ideas. That's a good thing. It's that 'iron sharpens iron' thing we read about in the Scripture.

The problem is that some want all of us to walk in tedious rows of political, social, and faith conformity. Ugh. So Stepford. That's why we end up walled off, belonging to churches that are insular, lacking impact. We live in gated communties of fear and only follow those people and movements that reflect our own tunnel vision. Boring.

We’ve forgotten how to dialogue, to admit that other good people can come to a different conclusion about any number of things. That’s especially true when it comes to matter of faith, politics and Cubs vs Sox. Some who read this are ardent, way to the right Republicans. Some who read my stuff are evangelicals who tend towards fundamentalism. Others of you have abandoned faith altogether and hold firmly to not believing anymore. Some are left leaning Democratics. A few of you are Catholics who mistrust evangelicals. Some cringe when anyone says that evolution isn’t anti-Bible. And when I say I believe in global warming some of you say ‘that’s right’ and others are quick to be on your knees to pray for me.

So, if you just read something that makes you think I’m off my rocker, lost my salvation, or sliding down a slippery slope into oblivion don't write me off or anyone else for that matter. There's a better way.

By the way, I'm not sure if I'm a liberal or a conservative. Actually, I think I'm a bit of both. The bottom line is that I'm a Jesus follower who has a deep appreciation for what has gone on before me. I value living in this country where freedom runs so deep. I also think that there's a boat load of issues in our culture that need us all to be on the front lines wrestling with finding answers. I cling to orthodoxy because it anchors me to live creatively and passionately in the here and now. Some of what I believe might need to be rethought. Challenge me. Some of what I believe compels me to challenge you. It's all good.


Anonymous said...

You may ask yourself what creates the best result for God's creation that emphasizes the long term benefits for His people over short term pleasure. Then, you will be able to rid yourself of any Liberal (aka Feel Good) leanings, and the find best way to glorify God's world in a sustainable way. Not for your benefit, but for His. Job creation is good. Charity is nice. Unlimited entitlements are evil, and drag people down. Don

Mike said...

Thanks be to God that He keeps giving to me so generously even when I'm not entitled to it.

I know what you're saying Don. And we're not that far apart. I would advocate putting limits on benefits when people aren't willing to put in the effort. We have to be wise, creating good boundaries. I think most Christian ministries do that.

Feel good tendencies aren't part of my thinking these days. I'm really interested in doing what's right even if I don't want to do them.

Thanks for responding.



Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

Hey Steve:

Thanks for jumping in. Good stuff.

Disagree on why people voted for Obama. Thought they were looking for change and McCain/Palin couldn't put together a compelling package.

Like you, socialism is not my cup of tea. Trickle down has to be combined with the non-profit wing of our country being able to cajole discretionary income out of the pockets of stingy people.

Limbaugh is mean spirited I think. Certainly not my favorite. He brings up good points but I always distrust people who care more about themselves than the big picture. I'm not convinced Rush loves America as much as he loves himself. I'm not convinced at all that he loves God. Just my opinion.

Saw an interesting statistic recently that illegal immigrants cost this country $15 billion dollars each year and bring in $70 billion in taxes. Don't ask me to find that source right now but I thought that was interesting.

I wouldn't want to throw people out. I don't know how we'd do that actually but would love to find a way to make them legal. I still believe, for many, that race plays a huge factor in the discussion.

I agree too Steve that the government has not proven to be a good steward of our money. The waste, corruption is appalling.

Thanks for chiming in. Really appreciate your thoughtfulness. Glad we reconnected on Facebook.

Regarding evolution. I believe that there is a growing segment of Christians who believe that there can be a discussion of evolution that doesn't leave out our core belief that God is the Creator. Any discussion that leaves God and the biblical record out of the equation doesn't work for me.

More on that some other time.


Mike said...

Just want everyone to know that Steve's comment was inadvertantly deleted. Steve. So sorry.

Anonymous said...

  /ˌsɛlfˈraɪtʃəs, ˈsɛlf-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [self-rahy-chuhs, self-] Show IPA
Use self-righteous in a Sentence
confident of one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

Related forms:
self-right⋅eous⋅ly, adverb
self-right⋅eous⋅ness, noun

sanctimonious, pharisaical. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary

We might disagree on global warming, but not much else. I am proud to be your friend!