I have a theory regarding the grand spiritual canyon that divides conservatives from liberals, and fundamentalists from progressives. Since I write today, for the church of tomorrow, I am compelled to understand this theological and social divide, especially as it manifests itself in North America. The church will forever consist of people who see our social issues from different perspectives. Conservatives conserve. Liberals liberate. That’s life!
But significant change, in both realms of thought, must occur as we move forward into the future. Rather than widening the division, the church of tomorrow must ultimately bring an end to all of her divisions. Ending the present chasm will ultimately enable conservatives and liberals to work together, in a joyful spirit, rather than antagonistic tolerance.
But, we aren’t there yet.
Presently, as people engage in verbal attacks on anyone who has a different viewpoint, I see a deeper, more deliberate phenomenon going on. I see the movement of God’s Holy Spirit intentionally dividing people. Yes! Intentional division! If we understood the purpose for such division, it might just make this time of immense spiritual turmoil a bit more tolerable.
So, here’s my theory, simple as it may be:
Since the job of a conservative is to conserve, preserve, and retain—the people who are hard-wired to think this way, are being called by God to conserve, preserve, and retain traditional teachings, practices, and rituals of the church of their ancestors. They are being called to stay put, defend, and resist anything that might threaten to dismantle the very things they hold dear.
Since the job of a liberal is to liberate, progress, and release—the people who are hard-wired to think this way, are being called by God to abandon the work of the traditional church, in order to till the soil, and eventually build the church of tomorrow. They are being called to fling open the prison doors, free the hostages of our past harmful theologies, and move forward to create new foundations of understanding, and promote serious change.
Think about it.
God wouldn’t call conservatives to liberate, any more than God would call liberals to conserve.
We are hard-wired to think the way we think, because we have different jobs to do! The present institutional model of the church must remain intact, while the church of tomorrow finds herself, dresses herself in her new image, and becomes a viable, knowable entity that will support the eventual mass migration to her new image.
We aren’t there yet.
The full release of migrating souls, from one entity to another, cannot take place until the liberators progress to the point where the new church model exists, in a viable, knowable way. God’s Spirit is calling upon thousands of souls to imagine the church of tomorrow. But, at the time this blog is being written, a radically different model of church has not yet been embraced.
We simply aren’t there yet.
Hence, the division between left and right, conservative and liberal, fundamentalist and progressive, is not an issue of who is right or who is wrong. It’s a matter of who is called to stay, and who is called to move on. Everyone has a job to do, and people are doing it to the best of their ability. The underlying purpose for this slow, century-long division, is to retain the old until the new is in full operational mode.
If people from both sides of the canyon understand that each has a God-ordained job to do, then both sides could cease taking aim at the other.
Conservationists could stop demanding that liberals adhere to the traditional teachings they hold dear, and “Let go and let God.”
Liberators could stop demanding that conservatives adopt to their wisdom and insight, and focus their attention on discerning a future model, that would be pleasing to God. They too must “Let go, and let God.”
Arguing over our respective tasks doesn’t help anyone. Every argument is rooted in binary, right and wrong thinking, which is a lose, lose proposition. “Letting go and letting God” perceives that we are presently living between former and future thinking, which is a win, win proposition. But, alas, the dream that people on both sides of or grand spiritual canyon, could be exactly where God wants them to be, at this point in human history, requires spiritual maturity. That applies to people on both sides of the grand canyon that divides us.
That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!
Oh, and I detest the labels I used in this blog! When we eventually rise above this canyon, it would be great if we could leave our labels in the river, at the bottom of the canyon.