Most of my Christian life I have been afraid of “L”
It is similar to when I was in grade school, and more than anything I did not want to be a sissy. I don’t think a worse epithet could be hurled at me. So great was my fear that I not only did all I could to avoid that label, but I of course avoided those who were identified as sissies. But what exactly is a sissy?
When I first became a Christ follower in high school, the only Christians I knew were very conservative evangelicals. I am really grateful for the bible training I received, but the constant fear of “L” is a lingering effect. The threat of “L” is still a weapon used today, and the ramifications can be painful.
Liberal was the worst category of people, for they were bright, educated, and wrong. To be liberal was wrong in moral or willful ways, not simply ideology. While in Bible College and seminary I was taught it was the greatest threat to the cause of Christ and the kingdom of God. But what exactly is liberal?
I understand that politically some who would prefer to see a more equitable distribution of wealth via government action are liberals. But by any definition they are the enemies of conservatives. I have always been on the conservative team, and thus my enemies were liberals.
Here is what happens then in real life: I am confronted with an issue regarding politics, sex, money, heaven, etc. Responding was never really very difficult because I used to know exactly what my team thought. I could give a “right” answer, and I knew it was right because it was agreed to by all my friends and it was conservative. Ah, so comforting. But what happens if you start to think a thought that you know is not conservative? (think, what happens if I cry on the playground?)
Fear. Fear that my conservative friends will think I am liberal. And then I won’t have any friends.
I am in new phase of life, where I want to think thoughts that scare me, and might not be conservative. But I am afraid I will be without friends. Long story, old message. We all want friends, and that desire clouds much of what we do. I miss the clarity. It was so much easier. I don’t really want to have to make all new friends. Can it be okay to have a just a little bit of L? I can already hear the voices “it’s a slippery slope…”
Or maybe I just need new friends?