Conservative Christians, I believe in you. I love you. I admire your faith, your witness, your dedication to Scripture. I value your voice – let no one silence you!
You are a crucial, effective part of the Christian faith. We need you to continue kindling our spiritual fervor for being in a personal relationship with Christ. We need your steady reminders about the importance that the Word of God holds for our daily lives.
But my heart is breaking for you.
When I survey the landscape of Christian writers, the conservative voices that I hear most clearly are not the voices that accurately represent you. The conservative conversation is being dominated by writers who are giving you an identity that is not your own. These writers have become so occupied with shouting the “defense of the Gospel against liberalism” that they’ve forgotten the greatest commandments.
You are kind and loving and humble, but the most vocal of the conservative Christian voices that claim to speak for you proclaim judgment and hate and arrogance.
I consider myself a political and theological moderate, but I was raised in a strictly conservative home. Even though my own views on some matters have changed with time, I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the way I was raised – the hearts and attitudes of the people in my life were pure and beautiful. My conservative community taught me discernment and trained me to challenge the ideological norms of the world.
As I’ve grown, I’ve made it my mission to seek the middle ground, the place of reconciliation between polar extremes, the sanctuary of peace between the labels. I embrace the positives in both liberal ideals and conservative thoughts alike.
But recently, based on the loud online conversations of conservative extremists, I am finding less and less of your position that I can defend. I want to stand with you in defense against the far left, but I need ground to defend. I need to hear you – the real you, not the ones that claim your name but don’t share your values – so I can stand alongside you.
We all know the Bible’s “Love Chapter” and what it says about loving our spouses. Try to read it with me today, though, as if you were reading it for the first time. Apply it to the way we treat those with different ideologies, whether that’s the liberals, the conservatives, the LGBT supporters, the traditional marriage advocates, the egalitarians, the complementarians, or any other “other” perspective.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice
but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.
Conservatives, you understand this. I know you do. But those who speak for you seem to have forgotten this message of love.
I need you to stand up. I need you to speak up. I need your compassionate voice to demonstrate to the world that people can stand firm in their beliefs without belittling those who disagree.
Write. Comment. Share. If you need a place to publish your thoughts, I have a platform for you and I cherish your perspective.
Conservatives, you have a special place in my heart and I need to hear your voice – your true, authentic, loving, humble voice.