Do you think people are born conservatives, moderates, or liberal? It's one of the thousand assailing questions that I'm asking myself while baking chocolate-topped oatmeal bars during this wonderful stormy day with child at grandmother's. Try as I might, I just can't be a conservative, and, so within church operatives, I always feel a bit like I just don't get it. Yes, values, I get, but values-defined-as-only-thus in a world of value-possibilities which are ignored, that I don't get. I especially don't get values-expressed-rabidly with pounce probability. My paternal grandmother, who's a preacher, had lots of expressed-rabid-values; she expressed them through a slicing belt, through constant quarrelling with her husband, through fear-of-Jesus whispers to granddaughter's panicked ears. "He's coming back soon," she'd say intently. "Get ready. Are you ready? It's going to be terrible."
Anything that the church adopted, she would adopt to be accepted in the choir and to be seen as authoritative behind the pulpit. I love this grandmother, who's still alive, mellowed with Alzheimer's, yet tales of her earlier legalism which bred anger and abuse are coming out. My dad and uncle tried to explain their upbringing to me this weekend. My uncle hates anything to do with the faith and church which coordinates well with what Brennan Manning says, "The number of people who have fled the church because it is too patient or compassionate is negligible; the number who have fled because they find it too unforgiving is tragic." Fortunately, Dad reconnected to God's rightful focus on love later in life.
These brothers are both politically conservative. Trust me, around election time, I got my talking-to's because of my lack of excitement about either candidate. So, I'm not sure where I get my orientation -- maybe Dad's right: I was ruined in college when I entertained other ideas. Yet, they fit me moreso than other ideas which seek to define and curtail and scold. And, so when I returned to God, I brought in the notion of compassionate humanism, for example, because it helped me see how God uses us to reach out to others (God is the author of compassionate humanism, isn't He? I mean we can be compassionate humans only because of His sneaky engineering). Things just look more blended together to me. Too much William Blake probably. Or, probably too much sugar.
Ah well ... I think the brownies are almost ready. Sure hope the church ladies love 'em tonight because they're a product of my right brain which spins and whips ingredients 'til smooth. Surely God had a plan .... :)