Christianity was born from Jesus being the antithesis of the ruling religion, beliefs and practices of the day. He was crucified for being liberal.
I was reading a young Christian man’s post about rules on dating and he took the stiff culturally traditional views and added some bible verses (out of context) to support his preferences. In the post, he stipulates that anyone who believes anything other than his views are ‘liberal Christians.’
I find it funny how being pious comes down to political views versus true belief in God and understanding both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Rahab, the prostitute (there was a reason the Bible pointed out her profession) certainly was not conservative but God saw fit (saw her heart) to include her in Jesus’ lineage. Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist was called crazy because of his dress and hippish lifestyle. Even Paul, formerly known as Saul, one of the elite, went rogue for the new religious teachings. I imagine God saying ‘Saul, quit your foolishness and let’s do some real work for me but people are not going to like you for it because it’s different.’
You have got to love God’s sense of humor sometimes. He throws the wildest stuff into human history to teach us that ‘nobody puts God in a corner’ yet we still do it and frown on everyone else for doing things differently. We shout perfection! perfection! in Christianity but the Biblical history is filled with imperfection.
Christians can be so wrapped up with all these rules, more rules and rigidity. On the other hand, Jesus came and said “ahh no” let us refocus on the true purpose of those laws and rules which are to point us upwards. Jesus was killed because he introduced liberal teachings – healing on the Sabbath, love instead of an eye for an eye, religious high days were no longer effective, animal sacrifice was not necessary, everyone is equal and important in God’s eyes, the belief in God is the way to life not through man etc.
Jesus mingled with everyone. Jesus was a carpenter and hung out with fishermen and the disenfranchised people most of the time. How much more liberal can you get? Jesus also knew his history so well that when he went into the synagogues and chatted with the elite, he spoke up boldly and challenged the ruling class and ridged conservatives who thought “our way or the highway.”
Christianity is not about liberalism or conservatism because we need both. We need a balance and people practice both in their lives and in the church. (The Amish is a true example of conservatism with limited liberalism). Even though Jesus came to change some things, he was also routed in the knowledge of the past and more importantly, the understanding of the message he needed to preach.
Fast forward thousands of years later and the liberal religion of the Bible is now the conservative religion. It’s the mainstream and everything outside of that is considered “the devil.” History is like a loop and we don’t always see the mistakes being perpetuated.
Jesus is all about the broken. If we see ourselves as broken throughout our lives and need fixing, then that would eliminate a lot of the religious nonsense. Think of a new car, it still needs maintenance over the course of its life because like the car, we are imperfect and God is the mechanic who is always tweaking, fixing and applying preventive maintenance. God is never out of work!
We keep missing the important underlying message of Christianity because it is constantly being wrapped up in legalism and dogma. The bottom line is God is love: Love God; Love man. The greatest of all these is Love.