Staking out my political position.
After careful reflection, I want to declare . . .
I am a conservative in the ancient sense of being a preservative of perennial principles, ideals which connect universal standards.
I am a progressive in the modern sense of being forward thinking, interested in the present application of comprehensive ethics.
I am a libertarian in the revolutionary sense of being glad to allow others to live as they would like, as they refuse to impose their rules on me.
I am a socialist in the Scriptural sense of being compassionate toward those who have less, needing help, reminding individuals who have more to serve those who have less.
I am a Biblicist in the eternal sense of being subservient to The Personal Triune Creator who has given Timeless Wisdom to His temporal world.
I have come to these political conclusions based on five “readings.”
My reading of the Bible tells me that The Personal Eternal Triune Creator of the universe has established a transcendent standard for all people, places, times, and cultures.
My reading of human nature tells me that human corruption permeates everyone’s being, needing correction by a source of Wisdom not our own.
My reading of literature tells me that great writers throughout history have pointed to the corruption of our nature while seeking redemption.
My reading of culture tells me that there is always a need to limit and lessen abuses, careful to provide benefit and goodness for others in my own place and time with the gifts given me.
Now I know that I have friends who may not agree with my conclusions. They will read my “readings” in a different way. I will never give up basic beliefs nor would I expect others to give up theirs. But folks who disagree with me will always be greeted with open arms. I try to avoid conflict. I love to find common ground. We truly need each other, keeping each other politically accountable.
How will that happen? Five attitudes may help us engage different political perspectives:
Clarification: questions allow exploration, inquiry moves toward understanding
Discernment: honesty, carefulness, and kindness appraise problems with ideas, not people
Allowance: being lovingly tolerant of people means we are willing to challenge their beliefs
Reserve: humility teaches if we never think we could be wrong, we already are
Audacity: saying we are “correct” depends on “truth” which depends on an outside source
It is imperative for all of us to remember that we live in a free country, protected by a strong military, governed by laws, where we are in agreement about basic ideals of life, liberty, and virtue. I could not write these words nor could you, the reader, publicly respond with your own views in places like China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, or Russia.
America is a great nation. Our politics should produce careful reflection.
At the age of 16 Mark thought about becoming a politician. Focusing the fire hose of Truth upon the coals of human sin instead of the heat of politics, Dr. Mark Eckel became a theologian instead. Mark is president of The Comenius Institute.
Teaching George Orwell’s 1984 in an upcoming class, I am well aware of the dangers of government power.
Political decisions are important.
We like to think that things were better in a former age. Wrong. Some of the worst attacks I have read in politics came from our founding fathers. Check out a few scenarios.
We complain about various candidates, parties, and persuasions because we think their actions are awful.
I would like to say this to everyone: we bring it on ourselves.
Our emotive, vitriolic, bombastic, shrill, and profane diatribes splinter, fracture, divide, and fragment us. Our politics are so loudly partisan, so intensely personal, that we cannot hear anyone else.
Beside our attitudes, we have numerous problems. We are not reading the same documents. We do not know America’s history: good, bad, and ugly. We are not moved by the same speeches, writings, and stories. Instead we are listening to commentators. We only travel in our tribes. We only read those with whom we agree. We attach ourselves to our labels and think no further than our nose.
If America survives the future it is building, some will look back on these days to lament.
We need to commit ourselves to be OURSELVES. Read, learn, revere, gasp in horror, and redeem our national history. Only we can do this. No one will defend a nation if they have no idea why that nation should be defended.
Before November commit to reading The U.S. Constitution, Federalist Papers, Washington’s addresses, Lincoln’s inaugurals, MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech, Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, and the speeches of Ronald Reagan. If we are to be be E Pluribus Unum (“from the many, one”) we must hear many in order to be one.