I thought that title might get some attention.
There are some words that need to be rescued. “Gay” is another one, but we will leave that for another time. I would just like to attempt to liberate the political stigma of the word “liberal” as it is bantered about by politicians, media commentators, writers, and the general populace involved in the give and take of political dialogue.
First, I’d like to state that in a political sense, by definition, I am neither a conservative a moderate or a liberal.
I am apolitical. Free from politics. Although, voting is to be encouraged.
Here is the true definition of a liberal as defined by “Webster’s Dictionary” in its various uses:
• Liberal - (adj) Free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant. Not bound by tradition. Characterized by generosity and a willingness to give in large amounts. Given freely or abundantly. Not strict or rigorous; free! Befitting a free man.
• Liberality - (Noun) Broadness or fullness, as of proportion.
• Liberate - (transitive verb) To set free, as from imprisonment or bondage. To set free a nation or a people by control of a foreign or oppressive government. To set free, a group or individual, from social or economic restraints or discrimination, esp. arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
• Liberation - (noun) Being freed from abuse or exploitation, as in racial, economic, political and religious.
There are those who attempt to politicize Jesus Christ and that He has sanctioned one political party over another; and if an individual does not adhere to the recognized “Christian party” you are a border line heretic.
Here are some thoughts to consider that would counter that claim:
“The Christian Church must be guided by the Word of God and by it alone. It must not forget for an instant that all political systems, right and left alike, are the work of men. It must hold itself free to carry out its own mission and to work out a possibly quite new form of obedience or resistance. It must not sell this birthright for any conservative or revolutionary mess of pottage.” -- Karl Barth (Swiss Reformed Theologian)
“By no political (transformation) can you get golden conduct out of leaden instincts.” (Herbert Spencer as quoted by Henry Drummond (1851-1897)
Disciples to Jesus: “Lord, are you going to free Israel (from Rome) now and restore us as an independent nation?” (Acts 1.6)
Jesus to His disciples: “I am not an earthly king. My Kingdom is not of the world. If it were, my servants would fight...but my Kingdom is from another place.” (John 18.36)
Since some of His servants are often fighting one another over political matters, what does that tell us about the “kingdom” we are serving?
This misplaced emphasis has caused polarization in the church rallying around the wrong cause. The result is a misallocation of time, and money, and a compromising of its message. The Church is a prophetic community that is not for sale and cannot be bought. To maintain its integrity, it must adhere to the prophetic Word not any political ideology or party line.
“Your High God, is above politics, above everything.” ( Psalm 46.10-The Message)
“Self-control is better than political power.” (Proverbs 16.32 – The Message)
“No more will the fool be neither called noble, or be considered liberal.” (Is. 32.5 – Modern Language Translation)
Now if you want to be a true liberal:
• Be liberal in giving, and sharing.
• Be liberal with goodness.
• Be liberal with kindness.
• Be liberal with patience.
• Be liberal in scattering seeds of truth.
• Be liberal with His LIFE that is within you.
• Be liberal in prayer.
• Be liberal in love.
Below the bottom line true liberals should be:
“Good people (who) will be liberal and generous to others, and be blessed for all they do.” (Is. 32.8)
By these definitions, I haven’t arrived, but still pressing on.