Labels, judgments, and ASSumptions

1431868085175In college, these were my conceived definitions of “liberal” and “conservative”:

Liberal

Typically non-religious, Democrat, pro-choice, pro gay marriage, sexually active, lives by the motto “Everything is permissible if it feels good.”

Conservative

Very religious, Republican, pro-life, anti gay marriage, affirms sex in straight marriages only, advocates faith over science.

Both boxes are starting to get claustrophobic. Both boxes have perceived ideas of what everyone should believe and what lifestyle choices everyone should make, completely trivializing the complicated journeys that take place before deciding what’s important; what’s worth fighting for.

Sure seems that if you say the wrong thing, ask the wrong question, propose the wrong theory, the lids on the boxes go flying and everyone starts losing their minds.

This is something that most people won’t notice or care about, but it helped clear my mind a bit to remove my religious and political beliefs from Facebook – not because I’m ashamed (though I’ll admit to being slightly confused), but because I’m sick of the assumed judgments about my character and my values that come with identifiers like “Christian” or that of any political party. I’ve been asked whether I’m trading “biblical Christianity” for “progressive Christianity,” and I don’t know how to begin to answer such a question; even “progressive” Christians believe their interpretations are biblical. Implied in that question is the idea that questioning doctrines I don’t understand and listening to the struggles of people who believe differently is somehow not allowed.

Seriously, I say something about how it’s possible to have a religious conviction against gay marriage but affirm it legally in a country that practices separation of church and state, and suddenly I’m put in the liberal box? Really?

I used to think it was silly when some of my Christian friends decided to forgo the Christian title and instead call themselves “Followers of Jesus,” but I sort of get it now. Rather than come up with a new clever title (which is only bound to get tarnished again anyhow), I decided it’s pointless to quantify everything I am that will allow me to check off a box on a Pew Forum poll or something. I am a person with a unique journey. Ask me about that instead.

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About Beth Caplin

Just an author, blogger, and editor working hard so my cats can have a better life.
This entry was posted in Theology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Labels, judgments, and ASSumptions

  1. Bob M says:

    Checked you out from Twitter; I happened upon #gravitychat in Rachel’s TL.

    I empathize with you. Deeply I claim membership in an evangelical holiness denomination, and my wife is ordained into that same denomination. I used to go along with the church position that gay sex was immoral. Then I met a few people. And I saw the way Christians treated people who had been one of their own, who finally began living a life of honesty.

    Then I started thinking about all of the people who had their hands in the translations and transliterations that became what we call the BIble. How do we *know* they got it right? Because they said so?

    So I have my doubts about some things. But I focus on passages like Matthew 25, and try to treat “the least of these” the way I imagine Christ would have, with love and compassion. And I focus on the fact that where the laws of God and the laws of Man collide in this country, the laws of man have the right of way. My holy book (and which translation, anyway?) cannot be the only reason to pass a law.

    Because of my wife’s position in the church, I have to be careful about how outspoken I am, and that bothers me more than a little bit. But know that there are people out here who get it. I like to think I’m one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth Caplin says:

      For me, it’s difficult to trust anyone who claims they know for a fact what the bible says about an issue when it *wasn’t* an issue at the time the bible was written. Monogamous gay relationships weren’t a thing then – it was another outlet for men in the Roman culture to satiate lust. Gender dismorphia is another example: you could use Psalm 139, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb” as a justification that God knew what gender he was giving a person before their birth, but that’s a weak, nonspecific argument I think. There was no scientific and psychological backing for that then like there is today. I just try to err on the side of compassion when dealing with issues I don’t understand.

      Like

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