Friday, October 16, 2015

Conservative And Liberal Divide

Two people, side by side, were using the escalator and bickering. The  man on the right,  "Let those who are busy go on their way, move aside a little,"  addressing the woman who was blocking the left lane of the escalator." "Because of the fear of accidents we are not to make a commotion,"  she responded.  The man, "Heavens,  do you know how busy the young people are these days, and you  are blocking the way. Do You think that if we all moved to the right the machinery would  breakdown?" The woman did not give answer, and when they arrived at the floor level she went off quickly.

These are the kinds of scenes that we often witness. We have the conservative and the  progressive.The one that is busy with the present and the one who  is thinking of the future, A columnist in the Catholic Times reminds us of this fact of life. In this example we would be on the side of the man but this is not always so easy to decide. 

For seventy years we had the forces who were pushing: "let us live better" and those who screamed: "let's get rid of the dictator". However, both have been realized: we have a better life and we have a working democracy, and yet we have the infighting. We should be able to give praise and understanding for what has been accomplished but no, we continue to discount and disparage the other.

 Within the  church the situation is the same: each group is bringing in arguments that support their position, and only look for points that will bolster their position. Both positions have some truth and deficiency.

Jesus when he selected his first group of intimate followers, wanted a varied group with different backgrounds and temperaments. He had the conservatives and the progressives among the  apostles, both united in their allegiance to Jesus.

Truth should always be the goal. However, truth has different meanings for different people. Conservative/liberal dichotomy is popular but when we reduce it to 'black-and-white' and 'either-or' thinking and forget all the other possibilities we are doing a disservice to truth and ourselves.  As Christians these dichotomies make little sense. The transcendentals for us are not just the True, Good and Beautiful but also Oneness.

What is important is the person we are, for that will determine what we see and how we judge. If we are not happy, not at peace, have a troubled conscience, and afflicted spirit we need the humility to  acknowledge this reality, and admit to ourselves that it may influence our thinking. When we don't have complete spiritual and psychological health, and this is the reality for most of us, with humility we   pursue  the  truth and refuse to be boxed into thinking that what we say and believe is all there is on the subject, and  allow ourselves to listen deeply to the other.

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