MONDAY MEDITATION: Conservative or Liberal? (February 17, 2020)

If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.” –Isaiah 30:21

One of the most profound revelations I’ve ever come across is that we are programmed to be either liberal or conservative. We’re predetermined to traditional values and vote Republican, or to lean toward progressive ones and vote Democrat. Jonathan Haidt, in his book The Righteous Mind, explains this in detail.

So, whether we stray to the right or to the left, there are people straying in the opposite direction, thinking they are just as correct as we think we are. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’ll be dense today.” We all wake up looking at the world through the lens with which we’re born.

I guess the beginning of wisdom is to work on this humility thing. To expand my field of vision, don’t I need to try and look through others’ lenses?

Maybe a good start is not getting so upset because the “other side” just doesn’t get it. They’re just as upset at us as we are at them. So, why not just learn more about what they’re thinking and why they’re thinking it?

Full disclosure: I will never vote for Donald Trump. Yet really good people wear MAGA hats. So, what am I missing? And what are they missing? We’ll never know unless we stop talking at, and start listening to, each other.

Jesus envisioned a community where we could all come together, acknowledge our limitations, and accept each other as equally flawed, equally promising brothers and sisters. In so doing, we hear the Christ’s voice calling from behind, “THIS is the way. Walk in it!”

It really shouldn’t be all that difficult, should it?

7 thoughts on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Conservative or Liberal? (February 17, 2020)”

  1. “We’re predetermined to traditional values and vote Republican, or to lean toward progressive ones and vote Democrat.”

    WOW! That’s very Calvinistic. As a good Wesleyan Methodist, I lean more toward the Arminian idea that our will, regardless of genetic tendencies, can be molded and changed when we surrender it to Jesus. Peter, Paul and John Newton (former slave-ship captain & author of the hymn, Amazing Grace) are role models for this aspect of transforming grace. So there’s hope for all of us, because “with God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26)

  2. I heard Haidt in an interview in response to the interviewer’s point that a conservative value is to not consider other people’s views if they involve redirection from where one stands and holds as true (enter apologetics). So, while Dr. Haidt wrote his fascinating book, based on research of people in many countries, in hope that people might have civil conversations and learn from one another, it is certainly expecting miracles. But as we know, when people do choose to follow the way of looking outward, miracles can and do happen. Thanks for sharing, Greg. You have revealed the key: willingness to listen to one another for their perspectives and to be compassionate when that includes their revealing their true, underlying fears.

  3. I think people do change. All are lamenting the loss of the middle, but Independents are often the largest voting block. Extremes often rise or fall to the unacceptable.

  4. Greg: I like the thought you shared today. We all need to listen but as an intercity pastor said “listening” isn’t enough.. we also need to open a “dialogue” and feel “free” to discuss our differences with each other, if we are going to come together to diminish this level of such hatred toward one another. In order to a “compromise” we have to meet someplace in the middle in order to resolve those issues which separate and divide us. Coming together to openly discuss our differences with one another before we can even think about resolution is difficult ..we are more alike than we are different. Each has something of value they bring to the table.. we can learn to agree that we disagree but be civil toward one another in order to bring about positive change in order to live in harmony. Our world is neither black nor white.. Democrat or Republican….winners or losers. We are all brothers and sisters… made in God’s image. The crime issue in our world concerns me more than political party, however, both are closely related.

  5. Greg, these Monday Meditations are the best way I start each week. Your thoughts and insight are so inspiring.
    Hard to express what I mean, but I thank you eachMonday. Sometimes I think I am the first to read, being an early riser.


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