So, here I sit after a mentally draining week of debating whether the labeling of Christians as "Conservatives" or "Progressives" is a healthy trend in the comment section of Progressive Christian “Path to Action” National Conference Filed under: Progressive Christianity, at the blog, I am a Christian Too. Or, perhaps it might be more apt to say I was making a case about why it is an unhealthy trend to allow the labeling of ourselves, to allow the dividing of the Christian Community.
This was quite a learning experience for me and I'd like to share it. :)
I began my argument at I am a Christian Too with sarcastically commending "Bob" for further dividing the Christian Community by promoting the Progressive Christian "Path to Action" National Conference.
While I was eventually convinced that it is true that "Conservative" Christians have willingly accepted the moniker attached to them by the media, I felt, and still feel, that the willing and voluntary labeling of Christians as "Progressive" is more grievous because it is willingly and voluntary taken. Whereas "Conservative" Christians were unaware at the time of acceptance of their title that it would be used against them by the media to divide Christians and attack "Conservative" Christians as a separate group unrelated to moderate and politically uninvolved Christians, self-labeled "Progressive" Christians cannot pretend to not understand for what they are setting themselves up. Perhaps they are counting on a liberal leaning media to protect them from attack?
To quote myself from I am a Christian Too:
1). The media labeled Conservative Christians
2). Conservative Christians accepted the title without considering the consequences.
3). With the label Conservative attached, people all over the country assume to know what that means. This opens Conservative Christians up for attack by separating them from Christianity as a whole.
4). The media and others now feel it is perfectly acceptable to roll their eyes at Conservative Christians. After all they are not poking fun at Christians, are they? Just those radical Conservatives, just those ones that the media has laid the groundwork for attacking by attaching a label thus attaining the goal of an acceptable form of media assault on Christianity.
5). Christians who take a more liberal view of Christianity than those labeled “conservative” aren’t satisfied with the media attacking conservative Christians and fear being confused with a bunch of fundamentalist, radicals bent on ruling the country, taking it over and instituting a federal religion, they want a piece of the action, themselves, too! You see, they don’t want the general population of Americans to confuse them with fundamentalist radicals bent on ruling the country!!!! :0
6). Christians with a more liberal view on social issues begin to align themselves and decide on labeling themselves as “Progressive” Christians, why? So the media can now label them the good guys? The non radical, non fundamentalist, gentler, kinder Christians who do not want to rule the country? :::sigh:::
You don’t see the handwriting on the wall, yet, darlin’. You have bought into media exploitation of their own labeled “Conservative,” bad-bad Christians who the MEDIA promotes, gives air time to, paints as hypocritical, demeans and attacks. You, instead, meekly and mildly volunteer to attach your own label. Great, now you will see the media continue to bombast “Conservative” Christians with media attacks and you’ll be primed and ready for the media to paint you as a labeled group of extremist Christians at the other end of the spectrum. You fail to see the true enemy in this, Bob. Your enemy is not your brother, it is the one who labeled your brother and you are buying into their spin. I DON’T BUY IT. This is a media assault on Christianity, nothing more. The media takes the most radical of the media labeled “Conservative” Christian, holds them up to intense scrutiny and attacks ALL of Christianity in doing so, you buy the lie that all Conservative Christians adhere, strictly, to every word and opinion of the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world and, frankly, you’re just wrong. I have, through exchanges in the comment sections of your blog realized this while you have yet to see it.
In reply to Bob’s specific statement:
“In fact, my liberal politics is in response to what Jesus teaches us, not in spite of it. If that is creating divisions, then so be it.”
Jesus is Jesus. His Words are His Words. It is, frankly, impossible that he is going to, through God’s Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, tell you, for instance, that gays in the ministry is an acceptable practice and that the SPECIAL right of gay marriage should be written into law when His Word clearly states that it is wrong to engage in such behavior. He is not duplicitous and is not concerned with the politics of the world but rather the sin condition of the world, the salvation of the world. He taught primarily in parables. Concerning the rest of the Bible we have this:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16.
Jesus should not voluntarily be given over by Christians, ANY Christians, as if he were the rope at the center of a tug of war. Scripture must be considered as a whole. Jesus, through the Words He spoke which were transcribed in the Bible, did not specifically address every issue, political or not, during his brief time on the earth, but he did specifically state that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, he did not come to condemn the world but save it. The Bible gives us very CLEAR guidelines about right and wrong. Ignore it if you wish, pretend that some parts are useful and others aren’t. We can understand that with Jesus’ death and resurrection came a new covenant of grace with LOVE OF GOD and then LOVE OF NEIGHBOR being his key teachings. Not love of the world and the world’s, ever so fleeting, opinion of what being a Christian means. We are called to be in the world but not OF the world, we are told that the world will hate us.
I don’t know, Bob, I wonder if you are not trying to appease the world, what is your reason for disassociating yourself from “Conservative” Christians? Is it because you want the world to think you are less radical and more accepting of what the Bible, as a whole, clearly paints as wrong, such as promiscuous sex of any kind? Is it because you want the world to think you are the good guy, not at all like those bad-bad conservatives? Lol. They hated me, they’ll hate you, right? Good luck. "
I didn't receive a reply from Bob to my questions about whether he, and all "Progressive" Christians, are trying to appease the world or not and that greatly interested me. I do know that the article which originally directed me to Bob's blog implied that "Progressive" Christians want people to know that they are pro-choice and believe in gay rights and "love Jesus too." I cannot help but weigh this against what the Bible teaches, that our focus should not be on this world but the world to come. I cannot help but question the motives of those who seek to battle with their own brothers and sisters in Christ over political doctrine and dogma rather than seeking to unify and learn, edify and grow in an understanding of the Lord, Our God. I cannot help but ask myself if God is pleased with Christians, as I put it above, putting Christ in the center of a tug of war between members of his own Body.
As has often been the case I am never satisfied by the answers I get to questions such as these by the commenters at I am a Christian Too. They do not appear to want to directly answer questions or think outside the box. Not to sound like a biased partisan, but they communicate in much the same way as many of the liberals I have debated with over the last two years on the internet. They make their statements, if proven wrong they just pretend they weren't and ignore the tough questions. I do have great respect for some members among the commenters there, but satisfactory answers to hard questions are, nonetheless, in short supply.