Thursday, July 22, 2010

Conservative Christians

In the days following a most unique mission trip, I have been thinking a lot about how a person's faith might play out in a political arena.  As one who is not particularly interested in politics -- I become disillusioned pretty quickly -- the notion of "advocacy" is something I'm growing into.  As part of this journey, I've been reading the Religion section of various news sites and blogs.  (As an aside, it's nearly impossible to find something that doesn't address the Glenn Beck circus.)  One of the most thought-provoking pieces I've come across is Mike Lux's analysis of "How Do Christians Become Conservative".  Here's an excerpt:

The Jesus of the New Testament was of course extremely concerned with spiritual matters: there is no doubt whatsoever about his role or interest in the issues of the day, that the spiritual well-being of his followers was a major interest of his. How much he was involved with or interested in the political situation of the day is a matter of much debate and interpretation. Some say it was a lot and others that it was pretty limited or, as conservatives would say, not at all. However, much of a priority or focus it was, though, if you actually read the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus' main concern in terms of the people whose fates he cared about was for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast. Comment after comment and story after story in the Gospels about Jesus relates to the treatment of the poor, generosity to those in need, mercy to the outcast, and scorn for the wealthy and powerful. And his philosophy is embedded with the central importance of taking care of others, loving others, treating others as you would want to be treated. There is no virtue of selfishness here, there is no "greed is good," there is no invisible hand of the market or looking out for Number One first. There is nothing about poor people being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on society, nothing about how I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps so everyone else should, too. There is nothing about how in nature, "the lions eat the weak," and therefore we shouldn't help the poor because it weakens them. There is nothing about charity or welfare corrupting a person's spirit.


He goes on from there to lift up the issues that appear to be important to Jesus, including a relatively comprehensive exegesis of portions of Matthew, Luke, Acts, and James.  It's worth a read.  I'm interested to know what you think of what Lux has to say.

4 comments:

  1. Lux said it well, in my opinion. The "hypocritical Christians" argument/discussion can become very tired, but as conservative Christian "values" are used as a blanket description of all Christians, I think it does Christ, and his actual work and words, a disservice.

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  2. I see the main difference between the Conservative Christians and Progressives, as Lux puts it, is who should help the poor and feed the hungry. The former believes it should be private charity, while the latter believes it should be the government.

    I tend to believe that private, grass-roots organizations that can be held accountable (by donor's $$) are much better and efficient at serving the needy than the government, who can waste billions of dollars without doing a darn thing.

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  3. 1) Seems to me that the most strident advocates of "Conservative Christian" ideals seek to accomplish something through legislation and law that they have been unable to accomplish on Sunday morning. AND they seek to impose their understandings on me thorough law.

    2) Some say that 'language is our destiny" and nowhere are the terms less accurate than at the interface of religion and politics, values and opinions, dogma and fact. When the terms democrat and republican became liberal and conservative, the vision of the future changed and so did the destiny of the nation. Beck should remember and embrace the the advice given by Dale Carnegie year ago: "If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the bee hive."

    3) Can any one else see a connection between this thread and a previous Ullestad comment based on "The Rock"? Is the "Beck Circus" about the rock that is hanging over us? Is the end of the Incan Calendar in 2012 a rock hanging over us? Is (pick your ism) about to fall on us? Is freedom, as suggested many years ago in another rock song, to precious to be inherited? Must we fight for it?
    Chuck

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