Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Leaning right?

I'm a conservative. Maybe not in the way you define it but I'm pretty well convinced that I lean to the right. You see, I have a high regard for what happened long ago. The lessons of the past need to inform the here and now. If not, we're doomed to keep repeating the failures of the past. I believe government needs to serve the needs of the people and to do it with grace, dignity, and some degree of frugality. Smaller government is better unless it can't get the job done. Then bigger might be necessary.

And because I am a conservative I value the life of every individual. Those unborn. Those on the margins. Even immigrants. Whether they are here legally or not. Whether they are working or not. I care about gay people and straight people too. I care about those who act stupidly and those who are hurt because they are surrounded by abusively mean people. I'm a big fan of the Christian scriptures. Those words tell me that all people matter to God. All people. In fact, I matter to Him. And there are times when I wonder why.

I believe, however, that people who matter to God often do things that show their disdain for Him. And I believe we all will reap what we sow.

I'm not a big fan of taxes except when a police officer arrives quickly and the roads I travel are smooth. Then I thank God for the opportunity to pay for those comforts and am willing to pay more.

It doesn't matter to me that children don't pray publicly in public schools. For I know millions pray privately and that private prayer is not something that can be thwarted.

As a conservative I vote for both red and blue. Who really believes one party embodies all that conservatism embraces? Only ideologues I'm afraid.

I embrace term limits except for those office holders who are doing a really, really good job. Then, I'm open for more of the same.

As a conservative I believe that when a government official apologizes for national arrogance he/she is quite possibly doing the will of God. My country right or wrong has always been a silly mantra.

I believe that people and nations need to be reconciled to each other. I believe that's what the Bible teaches. I'm conservative enough to believe that God trumps country and that any attempt to place country on the same mountaintop with divinity is an exercise in both futility and idolatry. And yet God wants us to be good citizens.

I'm against entitlements but understand why some are necessary. And I'm wise enough to know that whatever is supposed to trickle down the economic pipe all too often ends up getting stuck somewhere and stays stuck.

As a Christian conservative I know that the church isn't up to the task of caring for the needy. Anyone suggesting otherwise has never compared church budgets to the gross income of its members. There's a gap between rhetoric and pocketbook.

As a conservative I believe that God helps those who helps themselves except when they can't and then I'm expected to step up to help. If I'm too busy conserving only my way of life then I'm way too busy.

As a conservative I'm embarrassed about what happens on Wall Street. I don't believe that prosperity is a signal from heaven that God loves us more. If anything, prosperity is a signal that we should be giving more.

Shrill conservative voices lack thoughtfulness and groundedness. I cringe when I hear them. I believe that complex problems are not easily solved by cutthroat decision making.

Am I really a conservative? I think so. I believe that choices should be rooted in an authoritative source. That source is consistent with all that is good throughout history. And it beckons me to live within what Jesus called the unforced rhythms of grace.

Perhaps that's what it's all about. Graceful conservatism. An appreciation of all that has been good and noble and true and a desire to build upon all that goodness, nobility, and truth ...gracefully.

Of course, graceful conservatism isn't that many degrees separated from graceful liberalism. Nor should it be.  What's lacking in our lean to either right or left is a grounding in something/someone that anchors our thoughts, our dialogue and our action.  My hunch is that most people who lean to the point of almost falling over don't know why they believe what they believe.  And it shows in their interactions with anyone who believes differently. Therein lies the problem that plagues us.  We just don't know anymore.  And our unknowing is creating quite a mess.


peter said...

You know, for a great bearded Communist, you sure make a lot of sense. That's why I love you man!

Mike said...

Thanks Peter. You're a good man ...a little strange :) but a good man.



BrotherB said...

"I'm against entitlements but understand why some are necessary." Calling them entitlements is rather...misleading. Why are they entitlements when the government does it, but when a Church or a nonprofit organization does it, they call it charity? I believe that Christ set an example as to how we should treat and view the poor. Simply because these poor are from are own nation, rather than some third world country...doesn't make them any less human or worthy of aid.

BrotherB said...

I used to lean to the right....but recently the actions of the Conservative Republicans in Congress I can no longer support them. They have done everything they can to jeopardize the equality of this nation that used to be great, but now is only a shadow of its former self.

Mike said...

BrothernB. thanks for posting.