Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Why I give the Right a Hard time

As some of my readers (all 5 of you) may not know, I assume no loyalty to a political party in the United States. I also hold no ideological loyalty to any political philosophy or agenda (in fact, I think all are fundamentally flawed in their inception, arrogance, desire for fidelity, and lack of self reflection). Interestingly, those on the right tend to call me "Left" while those on the left call me "Right Wing." I love ticking off each extreme at the same time (it is one of my only true talents).

In fact, I attempt to work out a political ethic based upon a humble understanding of the command to follow Jesus, taking into account "love your God/ Love your neighbor." I attempt, but fall terribly short, to take the teachings of Jesus and the writers of Scripture seriously in personal matters and in areas of ethics, philosophy and politics (Christian ethic falls short in my attempts to justify love for the Seminoles, Spurs and Cardinals and simultaneous hatred of the Yankees, Lakers, Hurricanes and Gators).

In this attempt I have found great difficulty having a "worldview" or "philosophy or framework that is consistent with most historical Christian attempts. I found the Reformed worldview a good home, but the furniture needed some serious feng shui. The Southern Baptist worldview of my childhood has radically morphed during the past 10 years into something unrecognizable, while more open views lack a center. During the past few years, I have become more comfortable with inconsistency, paradox and irony within my worldview. I am attempting to learn to come to Scripture and the world with an open mind.

I struggle with the text and attempt to understand what this thing meant to a first century Palestinian Jew (while looking at the NT for example). I try to throw out most of my preconceived ideas, which is terribly difficult for any Southern Baptist American and my "worldview" framework and allow the words of this most Holy Book affect my inner being, my worldview, philosophy and my ethic (political also). This is why I can not follow these designated harbringers of truth such as my denomination, the political parties of the US, any government entity, any "Christian" group with an outside political agenda or desire for power in their reading of Scripture (and so on).

Too often we look at Scripture to fit into our schemes. In the past, my conservative brethren have pointedly accused the Left and cultural Christians of such behavior, but they must look at their own leadership and see the huge plank in their eyes.

Of course, most of us realize this and have talked ad nauseum about this in the past (why are you Rick pointing this out now, duh?). I realize this and have thought this way for years (I am a Contrarian), but I need to put this out there because this blog is "cheaper than therapy." Plus some of my friends need to be reminded that I am a historically orthodox Christian, just not a unhistorically Southern Baptist Christian loyal to the RNC and W.

I say this not out of hatred or meanness. I say this because my family (the SBC, Evangelicals, the Christian ghetto/ subculture etc.) seem to have lost their way in a wilderness of anger directed at Liberals, the Cultural Elite (who the heck are these people?), Media (especially Dan Rather and CNN), Gay Agendas, Abortionists (who anger me, I just don't happen to know any- by the way, I have never written that word before), Progressive Christians, Democrats, Postmoderns (as if Moderns are oh so hep), Ivy Leaguers (unless they are Republicans), New Yorkers (the rest of the nation liked them for 10 minutes on 9/11) and any body else I may have forgotten to mention (although I could go on forever. I enjoy designating the labels).

We have forgotten that Jesus spent most of his "anger" time attacking the "righteous", the "powerful", the "rich", the "pious", the "judgmental", "profiteers of religion who took advantage of the poor and humble" and others that spent so much time preaching to their big synagogue about how bad the rest of the people were.

That is all I try to do on my blog when I point out the ironies, hypocrisy, meanness, self-righteousness, power-hunger and blindness of the Christian Right. I do not want to pass judgment (they are my family and I do not believe in divorce). I just want to call them to a better way of life. I want to call them to a higher ethic. I want to call them to stop demonizing the other side and start building bridges. I also point out their sins, because they are in power and are abusing it (yes the other side would too, but goodness- Christians are the Kingmakers and have the government where they want them). Power surely has corrupted many of leaders. And yes (confessionally) I rarely agree with those guys on what is actually important.

And since that will never work, I want to make my friends think a little bit about unconditional support for a flawed line of thinking (everyone points out the flaws in my system also) and help us take the plank out of our own eyes before pointing out the speck of sand in our friend's (or enemy's) eye.

Sorry if this bored you, but this blog is about me anyway. And I will continue to be a pain in the backside of our Evangelical mainstream right wing subculture with no guilt. I have some good links coming!


Rudy said...

you have six readers

Mike Todd said...

Number 7, signing up.

Anonymous said...

Rick wrote:

We have forgotten that Jesus spent most of his "anger" time attacking the "righteous", the "powerful", the "rich", the "pious", the "judgmental", "profiteers of religion who took advantage of the poor and humble" and others that spent so much time preaching to their big synagogue about how bad the rest of the people were.

Indeed, this is true. One's house has to be cleaned first. Yet you seem not to have noticed that some of these descriptions also apply to the aforementioned targets. Look at the mainstream print and TV media, the Hollywood elite, the east and west coast university faculties, the New York socialites. They are all powerful (e.g. George Soros, Ted Turner, the Kennedys) and influential (e.g. Ivy League law schools and social science/humanities departments). Many of them are rich (e.g. the movie stars that back the Democratic ticket). Most of them are judgmental and righteous (e.g. the typical columnist at The New York Times).

So who *wouldn't Jesus* be angry at?