Liberal or conservative? Last time, we looked at these two viewpoints. I pointed out that there are positive aspects to both. All in all, they describe a philosophical view. They describe a disposition. You can be a liberal in some areas but a conservative in others. The question of politics and religion, for example, are often confused in various debates. Ultimately, each side can be a force for good.
However, each also carries inherent weaknesses, virtually independent of what area we are talking about.
Conservatives resist change. While this can maintain the status quo, the problem is, well, that it maintains the status quo. Its biggest asset ironically is its largest weakness. By not changing, stagnation can set in, wrongs will not be righted and there is little to no effort to improve.
Conservatives can be viewed as rigid because of their lack of willingness to yield. This can be good when standing against the tides of evil, but it can be detrimental in other cases.
The lack of change can also foster an environment of cronyism. It becomes the “good old boy” network. If you are “in”, then can garner more power. If you are “out”, then any advancement can be difficult. This goes for personal achievements as well as more lofty goals.
Liberals are more willing to embrace change. Too much change, though, can cause confusion. It can foster an environment of chaos and insecurity.
Liberals can be viewed as unbalanced or not as committed because they are so willing to embrace change. Indeed, it is not unusual for conservatives to attack liberals on the question of values. However, what conservatives tend to forget or downplay is that change is often a value for a liberal. In many more cases, there is a genuine value behind the desire for change.
While it is recognized that cronyism can exist under a liberal regime, it should be noted that it normally cannot last as long because change is inevitable.
It should be fairly obvious why it is difficult for liberals and conservatives to understand each other. What needs to be recognized, though, is that no one is 100% one or the other. 100% conservative means you would never advance, grow or otherwise change in any positive way. 100% liberal is an anarchist who embraces change for change’s sake and not to have a positive influence.
Can these two sides coexist peacefully? Is it possible for both sides to find common ground?
One thing that politics in the US has seen recently is that people are polarizing more and more to opposite extremes. The country is split almost exactly down the middle. Worse, politics tends to only cause greater polarization not less.
What happens when there is no middle ground? What happens if one side will not give in to the other? What happens when lies and deceit begin to be viewed as justifiable means?
Well, you have the politics of the world, do you not?
Or, is it just the world that Satan agitates into being polarized?
Neal Boortz has put it well, in terms of U.S. elections — they tend to come down to 20 percent of the voters. The 20 percent who are not in the Democratic or Republican base camps, but tend to be "independent" and more open to reason.
If there's a "liberal" camp in Sabbath-keeping Church of God groups today, It may be a matter of perception in the eyes of arch-conservatives. They're so far to one side that the "middle of the road" looks dangerously close to the edge of the cliff.
I was in a Bible discussion this week where one minister said the UCG soap opera (my term for it) is more about "personalities" than doctrine. That might not be far off from what you're writing here.
It occurs to me that you might be considered a liberal by some people, for bringing up this subject for an in-depth discussion.
But I'm glad you're doing it, because it's obviously risky for some church congregations to do so in an organized way right now. I think that situation is sad, because we ought to be able to "reason together" as Isaiah 1:18 mentions.
How interesting that Church of God bloggers have to drive the discussion of these seemingly touchy subjects nowadays. COG leaders were silent about "Burn a Koran Day" (as far as I know) until Robert Thiel posted thoughts against it.
Anonymous wrote: "It occurs to me that you might be considered a liberal by some people, for bringing up this subject for an in-depth discussion."
People have called me a liberal for giving someone a birthday card. Apparently, though, the other night someone thought I was being way too conservative for objecting to calling the President of the US an "idiot-king" and quoting Scriptures that say not to speak evil of our rulers. I have been called liberal for pointing out one of Job's daughters was named after a type of eye shadow (makeup). I have been called conservative for not attending Christmas parties by employers.
If I try to please people instead of God, I would never win.