No Room for Moderation

It’s likely no surprise to any of my regular readers that I tend to lean more left of center than right of center. Still I like to think that I walk a more moderate path than most.

I would guess that many of my Facebook friends, a list that spans both sides of the political spectrum, as well as different religious, social, economic and ideological view points, would love for me to just “pick a side.” I just can’t do that, which leads me to believe that in today’s world the moderate voice is a thing of the past, and yet I know there are other people who share my world view.

I realize that I’m likely putting words in peoples mouth, but hey this is my blog, and what I’m talking about today is my perception, and contrary to popular belief, opinion, and even contrary to what I recognize as a truth embraced by many of the people I know and love, perception is not always reality, it’s usually skewed, by my world view, my values, religious beliefs, up-bringing, and arrogance. We are all more important in our own minds than we are in reality. Anyway I can hear my conservative, republican, Christian friends talking to their significant others saying anything from Aaron’s lost his christianity (there’s that little c again) to can you believe he won’t take a stand, he must not be the person I thought he was, he must not believe in absolutes any more, I think he may even be a socialist, can you believe that, he actually likes some of the things the democrats stand for, he likes the affordable care act, he thinks there needs to be a decent safety net for people in our country…. the list of grievances I imagine can and does go on. To them I likely appear to not be the man that they thought I was, much less the Christian that I should be.

Equally disconcerting is what I assume my other friends who know me must say behind closed doors. If he really was a supporter of justice, and fairness, of freedom of speech, if he really was an advocate for equality, he would break ties with the right wing nut jobs he talks to, he would denounce some of the things that he grew up with, he would embrace the liberal agenda fully. Again understand I know that I’m not that important in either sides world view, but hey it’s my blog and I can grandstand if I want too.

I don’t see myself as a dyed in the wool liberal, as some would think, neither do I find myself any where near the conservative right wing evangelical that some of my friends are. I walk this middle line of things, at least in my own mind.

I listen to what both side says, then I start to dig. I don’t just jump to CNN, or FOX, or the Huff post, or the Blaze. I don’t just go to Snopes or any number of fact check sites, I try and go a bit deeper, reading the proposed laws and amendments. Looking at things that are available in their un-doctored form. To me that’s just second nature, sure it would be easier to just trust what any number of news outlet says. I can find one that agrees with my world view, again and admittedly left of center one, just as easily as any number of right of center people can go and find a person to tell them what they want to hear.

The danger that I see in both of those approaches is that I have taken myself out of the equation. This is a dangerous proposition, one that all to many people are willing to do.

I have two questions:

1. Why are christians so ANGRY?

2. Why are liberals so ANGRY?

christians:

So much of what I see from my christian friends, or J’s christian friends just doesn’t fit what I see modeled for us by Jesus and later other Christ Followers. Given the recent climate and as a rebuke to myself as well as them I read this from Paul.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Rom 12:17-19 (The Message)

If anything christians should not be angry at all for several reasons the most important of which is found in just about every gospel and throughout the apostles letters to the churches. The idea of living in harmony, showing love, and not judging non christ followers is huge throughout the New Testament. Besides the only difference between a Christ Follower and the guy down the street is that the Christ Follower has recognized the path that he or she needs to be on and has decided it’s preferable to the endless cycle that comes from not having the great hope that comes from who Jesus is. Somehow though we have forgotten this. A lot of people look at christians, and all they can see is an angry group of people who are full of them self and think they know it all. Christians are angry that’s pretty much what I see when I look at them in the media, on Facebook, on twitter, or in the halls of our government. Christians are mad about health care, mad about government spending on social programs, mad about the liberals in power, angry at our president, mad at the fact that people would even think about gun control, mad that people are attempting to enforce some sort of separation of church and state, upset over prayer not being in school the list is endless. The problem that I have with the whole anger issue is that’s not what God told us to be, or to do. If you’ve got it in you get along with everyone. If you don’t like the way The Message says it how bout the NLT? Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, Rom 12:17-19 but wait, I am sure some won’t like that either, so lets look at the good old fashioned KJV Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath:for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Rom 12:17-19 Yeah pretty much the same idea. With as much as is in you…is the key word here, and if you and I really are following Christ then it follows that he is the one that we are living and moving and having our being in. I’m pretty sure he could handle all of the above, in fact he did so on a daily basis. The people that he wasn’t at peace with were the religious leaders of the day, the ones that thought they had it all together, the ones that had all the answers. Even then he would answer there questions and refuse to be baited into some long drawn out discussion. So why do christians today think it’s their job to be right, to bring judgment, to bring morality and change to our nation and it’s leaders. I don’t find that in scripture, I find that we are to pray and live at peace. Christians shouldn’t be angry, they should be full of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Liberals:

Liberals have pretty much won. As much as I can’t stand Angry Christians attempting to speak for me, I am equally annoyed at angry liberals who constantly point the finger at Christians and talk about how antiquated their ideas are, how angry they are, how full of hypocrisy they are. The liberal agenda is going strong, the left has given the moniker of out of touch idiot to most on the right, and the charge has stuck. Liberals are never content with a victory, always needing to push their agenda further and further, to push all semblance of Religion out of every facet of life, save the home and the church. Some would even be content to yank churches down as well. Liberals sit in their desk chairs of enlightened superiority and explain why they are right and why anyone that has the nerve to believe in a Judeo Christian God must be at the least a less than intelligent troglodyte. other more enlightened religions are embraced but there is no room for the morality that comes from attempting to live out Biblical principles. Most are quick to run to the aid of a same sex couple that is being discriminated against, while at the same time being bigoted toward the church that wants to set up a Living Nativity this Christmas. Angry Liberals are just as annoying to me as angry christians and they are all over.

Here’s the thing, while I definitely lean more toward the left, there are things that are not left about me. I will never fit squarely in one camp or the other and many times it is this very aspect of who I am, an aspect that I actually enjoy for the most part that draws criticism from friends on both sides. My liberal friends don’t think I go far enough in condemning my conservative friends, and my conservative friends think I have given up important aspects of my faith. On the contrary, this is what I’m busy attempting:

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Phi 2:12-13 (NLT)

Those two verses take up more than enough of my time and energy, sure I make the occasional comment about how annoyed I am with right wing conservative christians and the politicians they have anointed as the next saint, and sure I get annoyed at some of my liberal friends and their constant condemnation of anyone who disagrees with them, but for the most part that’s just a distraction from what I really should be doing.

One response to “No Room for Moderation

  1. Opposite side of the political spectrum, but I am in agreement when it comes to my Christian faith. Rather a conservative, liberal, or moderate, most important is our faith not anger. I don’t always understand where you’re coming or even going, yet I enjoy your heart and desire to be Christ-like. This militant anger is divisive and has nothing to do with Christ. Thank you for your thoughtful insight.

    Pastor Ben

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