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Why I Am Neither Conservative Nor Progressive

Conservatism in one sphere can lead to progressivism in another.

To be more specific, theological conservatism can lead to social and political progressivism. 

Last week, Curtis Chang and David French talked about the problems of the labels “conservative” and “progressive” on their Good Faith podcast.

By Chang’s definition, I am a theological conservative. I understand the Bible as the authoritative word of God that points us to Jesus and invites us to participate in God’s loving action in the world. 

I used to think that this theological conservatism led directly to political conservatism. But over time, my theological convictions have led me to many views that are labeled socially or politically progressive. (For example, my theological convictions that all humans are created in the image of God leads me to support social protections and provisions for people who are vulnerable and marginalized in our culture and around the globe.)

It brings to mind Bono’s words about the “radical center.” He writes about living and acting from a space that is on neither side of the political aisle. His fellow celebrities saw him as pandering to the political powers by advocating alongside the Bush White House. His fellow Christians saw him as too much “in the world.” And from that space, in the midst of all the criticism, he was able to marshall forces to provide billions of dollars of aid for hurting people. 

I want to inhabit that radical center. Not a wishy-washy moderate position in which I try to appease all the people. Not a space where I am unwilling to fight for what I believe. But a liminal space in which Love is the label that matters.

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