Conservative…

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If there ever was a word that needed an updated revisioning, it’s the word conservative.  From whence it once came great leaps of distance have transformed this innocuous word into something downright sinister.  If the word were still used to define a person or group as wanting to preserve a set group of social customs and religious beliefs passed on from earlier times, well,  we all could sleep better at night.  Sadly, that’s far from the case.  Now the word conservative refers to activism of not only disproving what others believe and hold sacred but also forcing others to accept and adhere prescribed doctrine and dogma.  The conservative belief system now marches with the conviction that it is morally superior and just what everyone else should follow, whether they want to or not.  Because or the bedding of right wing politics with fundamentalist Christianity, now the movement imagines itself divinely inspired and without error in its system of doctrine and crusade of redeeming society for its self-centered cause.  There is no compromise of conviction, either you’re with us in complete lock-step or you are the enemy that needs to be destroyed.

It’s not a huge leap to where the “conservative” movement is today and where its heading to see an Americanized Taliban marching about our streets and communities making sure those people under its watch are staying true to the faith.  These same adherents to the law see nothing wrong with their efforts but sharply stiffen their necks when they hear about how other married political and religious groups from other lands swallow up every civil liberty imaginable.  Little do they know, they are becoming what they fear.

For me going forward, the word conservative will be replaced with Fundamentalist in both the political and religious context.  Reality sucks.

Definitions…

 

Definitions

I think that some the terms we throw around so effortlessly may be due a revision in their definitions.  As long as I can stay interested in the project I’ll try to take a new word with each submission to re-define for a modern age.  Might be fun, might anger some, maybe, just maybe…it might help us to all get on the same page going forward.  Here goes.

Chilly Protest…

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Driving through the square in town today I noticed a person standing with a colorful sign held overhead.  Her sign read, “Abortion kills babies.”  I drove away curiously while pondering why on a frightfully cold day would someone choose to stand on a street corner and hold up this particular sign.

While eating lunch I noticed while scanning my phone for some valuable bit of information that today represents the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.  Suddenly it occurred to me the rational for the lady standing out in the cold earlier in the day.

I certainly respect the view of protecting life, I really do.  Rather than grandstanding my personal views on the subject, at the moment all I can think about is this one quote.  Not really sure who first said it nor does it really matter, but it’s relevance became pronounced as I considered the events of today.  “If you want to have fewer abortions quit making it hard for women to get birth control.”  Seems like such a simple statement to be filled with so much irony.

Sadly, the same indignant folks who beat their chests over the horrors of abortion are the same people who want to limit woman the right to contraception.  For the life of me I can’t get a handle over this bizarre logic other than it remains a means to control women.

Maybe I should get a sign ready for the next time I see someone standing on a street corner concerned about abortion.  Mine should say, “Easy access to birth control prevents abortions.”  I wonder how my sign holding friends would accept me standing in their midst?

Charming…

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Somehow, magically, mysteriously, and coincidentally I managed to happen upon this group of inbred haters two weekends in a row in separate towns.  Each time we were greeted with “you’re going to Hell you drunken bastards.” What?

Not only are they a disgustingly cruel but obviously grossly misjudged my drinking each encounter, maybe it’s just a conversation starter for them.  Parties and holidays must be a blast.  Unfortunately,  they don’t let their  illiterate fourth grade theology slow them down even the slightest (sorry if that offends real students in the fourth grade) the venom they vomit freely spews like verbal diarrhea.

This country has been so concerned about freedom of religion to such an extreme that the pendulum now has swung so we now need freedom from religion.

One positive these devilish do gooders must hate, I saw many families walking away in deep discussion with their children having in depth conversations about what God is really like.  Sweet lemons?

Oh bother….

Constitution Minders…

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We seemingly have a new breed of self righteous control freaks on the prowl.  Be warned they come across as all knowing and beholding the secret handshake that unlocks the the true meaning of a famed piece of our government.  The intelligentia mafia clarifies everything about the constitution that you didn’t know that you didn’t know.

These outspoken addicts of inerrancy in all things they personally believe have jumped ship from the bible to now instruct us what the constitution actually means.  Isn’t it interesting that just like when inerrancy is applied to the bible it is about majoring in the minor things and minoring in the major, coincidentally it comes as no surprise the direction found of these scholars teachings seems to magically align with a certain partisan leaning

Control is control and this is just another vehicle for insecure wanna-be leaders to exercise dominion over non-suspecting lemmings.  Sadly, too many will willingly submit to this latest form of thought sacrifice and freely submit themselves to these bombastic authority figures self-serving opinions on our constitution.

While not claiming scholarship in constitutional matters, it seems this document was created with lots of wiggle room so the writings can grow with the times and society.  Demanding a sole interpretation of something created for flexibility desecrates the creative genius that wrote such a vehicle.

Hmmm…

Honesty…

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The most freeing event a person of faith can encounter in my opinion is the moment when they suddenly realize they are in a true relationship.  This moment in time lifts the emotional chains that keep us beholden to an all or nothing God and sets us free to evolve in the fashion the master offered.

In any relationship when a person has to hold back certain feelings, beliefs, or desires in order to maintain a clam steadiness, one person by not being honest never gets the full enjoyment of the relationship.  For that matter the partner will never fully enjoy all that is wonderful in the other with this type of arrangement.

Our faith is a relationship.  Opportunities to further embrace, peace, calm, kindness, love, generosity, and other mystical characteristics of wholeness await the willing consort, but do require total honesty.  My personal belief is that my faith remained at a infantile standstill until the day came that I felt the freedom to be completely honest with my heavenly partner.

I had issues with my beliefs.  I found some of the teachings comforting but many others deeply disturbing and divisive.  The inner turmoil kept me from embracing this relationship deeply as I didn’t feel I could be honest.  When the day came I first questioned something I was told I must believe in I was afraid of the repercussion of an angry and disappointed God.  Instead what I got was a freeing breath that encouraged me to embrace deeply this one I loved.  One question led to another and then to many, eventually the willingness to confront became a vital part of my very being.

Why more people don’t ask questions of their faith?  Its all about fear and security.  If one allows a single area of cemented belief to be considered fragile then a spiritual house of cards could begin to falter and eventually fall.  Deconstruction is hard, deep work that many feel unable or unwilling to undertake.  For me, meeting God again anew without so many opinions has been the most refreshing experience this poor chap has ever encountered.

Leadership….

I’m tired of all the secondary pastors that have taken over Christendom.  I’ve grow weary of the middle aged adults who have sat in the same type church their entire lives and now deem themselves spiritual guides for the universe.

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These oracles have so familiarized themselves with the routines of Sunday that now they feel the need to teach everyone who happens to mistakenly enter their circle of influence.

When God’s word to mankind suddenly and mysteriously became an inerrant and perfect piece of wisdom handed down from God himself to his followers a spiritual maelstrom developed that only those on the outside will ever notice.  The problem exists when an inerrant bible then creates inerrant teachers.  These “leaders” create a wake of destruction and self righteous indignation tumbling behind their march to foster a man made Christian utopia in their own image.   If they can quote a passage, however disjointed from the actual meaning and purpose, then the thinking pursues that their opinion must likewise be without error or flaw.

Suddenly everyone is a leader marching forward issuing papal bulls of their own to an unsuspecting and uninterested crowd.  Doing the work of God takes on a new perspective when seemingly the role of speaking for God as God comes to fruition.

Sadly, the parable of the man pointing his finger towards the moon to reveal the wonder of nighttime’s creation became a focus on the finger doing the pointing thereby missing the intent of seeing the moon clearly.  It’s not a big jump to replace the finger with the bible and the moon with the creator.

Seek to be a follower.  Fear demands believers seek leadership roles for in doing so vulnerability and honesty are bypassed, two beautiful traits found in healthy humans.

Rescue and Revive…

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I think it may be time to retake the term conservative back from the religipots that have hijacked and claimed it as their own.  These true believers have conveniently misquoted, misused and misappropriated God’s word for their own claim to fame long enough.  Each time a Conservative Christian is interviewed he (almost always male as they claim dominion over the weaker female species, otherwise if it is a female she acts like her valium prescription has been tampered with) never sounds like me or anyone I know instead acts in a manner than is so aggressive and mean spirited that their hidden jack boots begin to show.

I consider myself to be a conservative.  I truly do.  I take what Jesus said very seriously.  So seriously that I don’t dare try to add anything to His words to reflect my bias.  He summed it up so succinctly when he said everything I teach you can be summarized in this.  “Love the Lord God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.”  To me that’s more than enough instruction on how to emulate the master.  Doesn’t touch anything grey and stays completely black and white.  So if one really is a conservative they would take this teaching as the epicenter of their faith practice and focus on fleshing this out.  Choosing to kick into hyperdrive Christianity to impress the locals only further distances oneself from the original intent.

So if I start referring to myself as a conservative Christian going forward you’ll know what I mean.

Time to reclaim what is ours.  Next reclamation phrase, Pro-life.

Just saying.

Self Serving Opinions…

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Yesterday’s high court ruling on restoring equal rights to gay and lesbian couples and not permitting continued discrimination sent quite a shockwave through the evangelical community.  “The end is here”  “We’ve walked away from our Godly center”  “Our country has forgotten the morals it was founded on”  just to name a few.  I’m waiting for Pat Robertson to have another divinely inspired word from the lord detailing the reason for the rain in New Hampshire is a result of God’s curse on America or some other saw toothed thought. (This just in…Patty came through with his prediction of clamity)

My favorite was from Mike Huckabee, talking head political toad and part time theologian (when it works to his political cause).  In response to the marriage equality ruling yesterday, his simple retort was “Jesus Wept.”  For some reason this hit a raw nerve with me, much more so than the other various opinions fostered.  How could a man who claims to have a theological education (from the same institution as me no less) misuse scripture so blatantly?  I find it maddening how literalists can quote selected passages to support their agenda with no concern as to the context the chosen passage is lifted from.  Jesus wept was describing Jesus at a certain time in his life reacting to a certain event that caused Him sadness.  It is not a bumper sticker slogan that can be used every time someone doesn’t like the outcome of a political referenda.  If there was anything I remembered from my theological education it was this, “text without context is prooftext.”  If I heard that once I heard it one hundred times.  It is not right to use scripture in this fashion, period.

So I imagined that Jesus did speak out on this issue yesterday and what his reply would have been.  I believe he would have said something like this…”Hey Mike, thanks but no thanks for the help, I can speak for myself on the issue.  Please don’t use my words to strengthen your thoughts.  If I have something to say about this I will.  I think you know me well enough by now to know if it is important I’ll address it.”

What Jesus did say about homosexuality….NOTHING!!!

Tornado…

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If I hear one more person quote Romans 8:28 (…all things work together for the good) today in response the the Oklahoma tornado tragedy I’m getting out a club and soon will start swinging.  You’ll note my face will be distorted with an evil grimace refleting an inner breaking point has now been met.  My zombie like gait will let folks know I’m coming for them, I won’t be stopped.

Seriously, I struggle with understanding God in times like this.  I ask many questions and find the answers elusive and inconclusive.  Maybe this isn’t a time for questioning, at least some will tell us this, I disagree.

Listening to well intentioned people say God blessed them by sparing their family and friends from the midst of horror… while I understand their appreciation, I can’t help but consider what they overlook.  If your belief allows you to have gratitude and praise for lives being preserved it must at some point focus on the converse.  What about those that weren’t protected, especially those innocent children?  Did the same God not feel it important to protect them?

I find it hard to acknowledge these thoughts and putting them down in print almost seems like I’m shaking my fist at God.  I hope it’s not interpreted that way by the Almighty.  I just don’t understand.  I don’t have the pre-programed faith to just willy-nilly say it’s all part of God’s plan and we just have to accept it blindly.  Offering praise for those who lived and not voicing anger for those who did not doesn’t allow my spirit peace in these challenging times.

I would hope the response to such horrific times as these would draw us close to each other in support.  Either through actual physical help offered or in financial resources for others to help in our place.  Cheap pithy statements of faith offer no comfort in these moments.  Only true actions of love and concern make a difference.  God will be found in the rubble not in the rhetoric.

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