Modern evangelical conservatism is creating a surge in liberalism. Unlike many headlines, my provocative statement is not an overstatement device simply intended to garner your attention. Though I hope I have your attention, because this is a very important observation for which I have great hope in seeing this trend reversed. In fact, my thoughts are often arrested trying to solve the puzzle of this all-too-common occurrence.
While a great deal more thought is required, I will share the insight I have thus far. Some I have shared before because it is ever present on my mind. My writing returns to it again and again as of late.
Avoid the Extremes
The more extreme our perspectives become the more nuance is discarded. When our worldview reduces to the party line it becomes combative of the other party to an extent that any common ground is lost. We stand on opposite sides with a large gulf separating us leaving no room for interchange. We create the false idea that we cannot come to any agreement together. Polarized thinking requires that we label any idea that takes any step towards the other party as joining the other party. I am not advocating a middle of the road merging of two extremes – but a return to thoughtful argumentation which requires exploration and understanding of the worldviews we do not hold as our own.
On the eve of 2018 the Lord impressed upon me that any difficulty I would experience in 2019 would be a matter of perception. The struggle would be against old thinking. Time and again in 2019 I would find that word from the Lord a comfort as I worked to renew my mind. I had to stop anticipating struggle. This required an adjustment forcing me to stop assuming a potential obstacle would become a hardship.
Worry creates a storm of difficulty that the thing itself would never bring if we did not add worrying about it to the equation. Worry gives us a reality of the worst happening when it is our worry creating the storm of negative emotions and not whatever is actually transpiring.
The Lord worked with me throughout 2019 to think differently. To lift up my eyes to Him and off what I perceived as roadblocks or difficult experiences to see His goodness through each and every obstacle of life.
The last few days of 2019 found me suffering with the effects of a bad cold that had me sleeping instead of watching the ball drop as we passed into the now infamous 2020. Little did I know that instead of a year of 2020 vision we would have a year of great confusion, deep divisions, a health crisis, economic uncertainty, social turmoil, and a mad dash for toilet paper!
Despite such a tumultuous year, I have experienced deep enjoyment of the Lord and all His bounty. I have found joy in the smallest of things, a well-made sandwich, a juicy strawberry, a walk along the shore or around the block on a pleasant evening, or a great conversation with my husband. When all the fast-paced parts of life are sidelined the important things come into focus.
I have paid close attention to the ensuing cultural battles polarizing our nation. I watch the dueling swords wielded with unrestrained tongues. I see the fearmongering and shock tactics, the victim mentalities, and carelessness and strife in social media posts.
Americans have the corner market on democracy. Democratic equality has permeated every fiber of our culture. We have taken a governmental structure and made it the core of culture. We individualized it, marketed it, and sold it. Consequently, we created a cultural monster that wants its needs met. The government was instituted among men to protect our equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But what happens when we redefine the terms of what government is to protect? What happens when we misapply equality?
If equality means that I have an equal right to a certain level of income, a responsibility is placed upon government to protect my right to receive that amount. The free market economy gets plundered by a government trying to fulfill its presumed roll to even the playing field. The people become the children waiting for their parental government to ensure they are well fed. Conservative author Russell Kirk puts it succinctly, “Equal justice is indeed a natural right; but equal dividend is no right at all.” Conservatives balk at the usurpation of our rights, while liberals rejoice in the fulfillment of them. When we define the basic premise incorrectly the error becomes legitimized
This has happened with the change in marriage laws. Continue reading