Friday, December 7, 2007

Left v. Right Christianity

I have always struggled with this concept of "Left versus Right Christianity", where people label their position on christianity as the right one, based upon their political beliefs. Even worse is when people try to label Jesus as "on their side" as well. I saw a bumper sticker that said "Jesus was a Liberal" and another that read "God is a Republican". Good grief. This is the kind of non-sensical thinking that has a us split by denominations and even congregations within denominations.

What makes one think they can put a label on God? I mean, God is what God is. There is no way to define Him this using our political views. The saying "Creating God in our own image" is not exactly what we are to be about. God created us in HIS IMAGE and we are to be about the teaching of the Christ - if we actually want to call ourselves Christians, or followers of Jesus, or whatever phrase makes you happier.

It appears somewhere along the way that we have defined ourselves by our belief systems. I think that some people say they are Christian (followers of Christ) but what they really mean is they profess the words "Jesus is Lord and Savior" but in reality just believe in God. The imagery of God is more "on a throne, judging, huge, distant". This God sets up morale codes and rules and is an jealous God and demands justice. Then there are those who follow Jesus and his teachings as more of a mystic or rabbi and focus on that aspect of their spiritual walk, and are about the work of feeding the poor, fighting social causes, and just loving on people.

And somewhere along the way we have forgotten that the two are the same, yet distinct. You can't discard the commandments of God or ignore the teachings of Jesus because ultimately they are intertwined.

I find bridging this gap, even amongst so called Christians, is sometimes difficult. We seem to get upset and unhinged on the things of this world that have been deemed "important" to us", that we transpose those things upon the Church. As if the church were a reflection of our political statement!

The situation I find myself in is that most of my spiritual friends tend to be liberal in most respects regarding secular activities. And most of my conservative friends are not right wing evangelical types either. What is interesting is that I enjoy the mixture of these two camps AS LONG AS WE DO NOT BRING UP POLITICS. That only segregates and divides. I was reading an excerpt from Brian McLaren's book "A Generous Orthodoxy" where he talks about these two groups and how the small stuff has divided us.

You know, if a Muslim and Jewish leaders can get their folks together to build a habitat house, which they did in my area... why can't we Christians get past the silly rules and doctrines that separate us and dilute our efffectiveness?

I think a liberal or a conservative can both stand side by side and feed a hungry person. Don't you?

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