Coming to Rest in the Middle
I grew up with this mentality: Christianity = conservative. I know “conservative” is an adjective, and that you can fill in the noun with whatever you like: religion, politics, morals, etc., but somehow it all feels like one big melting pot to me. For the most part, I know what beliefs and worldviews and lifestyles qualify as conservative and what things don’t.
I didn’t realize until last year that there is such a thing as a committed liberal Christian. Conservativism seemed like the only viable framework for the Christian faith, so boy did it rock my boat when I discovered the blog of Rachel Held Evans, this left-voting feminist who believes in evolution and whose sincere love for Jesus holds me in awe every time I read a blog post of hers. Her blog, and many others, blew my world wide apart, showing me how so many parts of liberal Christianity are so much closer to the heart of God than I could have dreamed.
So I bought into all of it. I began to think about how the liberal vein of Christianity values open-mindedness and social justice and living the right way. I began to wonder if Christianity fit better into a liberal glove than a conservative one, and I began to criticize the ideas of those who held fast to a conservative perspective of Christianity. I even considered leaving my conservative church and in favor of a more progressive one.
But now, I think I’ve grown a little more. I’ve realized that Christianity doesn’t fit into the label of liberalism any more neatly than it ever fit into conservativism. Instead, the Christian faith in its truest essence, transcends it all, and adopts the best parts of both ideologies while remaining something unique, something special despite our attempts to categorize our faith on our terms.