Labels; I have never been very fond of them, especially politically charged ones. I’m not a rebel, but I also don’t like to be pigeon holed. In our current political atmosphere, labels and stereotypes have become synonyms and they alienate half the country.
The simple truth is, while I have very strong political views, my faith has led me to depoliticize, at least publicly. I am a Christ Follower, and as such, my faith drives my views issue by issue and point by point. On some issues, I fall cleanly in the Conservative camp. In others, I align more with liberals, and in still others, I find myself identifying with a Libertarian position. There are times, too, that I can’t support any of the traditional viewpoints.
Just as I have renounced the label, ‘Conservative’, politically, I reject it, theologically, also. As far as I can tell from the Bible, which is my source for doctrine and practice, there are not multiple brands, flavors, levels, streams, or camps in Christ’s Kingdom. There is ‘in’ and there is, ‘not in.’
Labels like, Conservative, Liberal, Fundamentalist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical Left, are polarizing and divisive. Besides, I can’t find them in the Bible.
The two driving forces in my life are A. The Pursuit of those far from God (regardless of age, nationality, race, language, or gender) with the hope and love of Jesus, and B. The unity of all Believers in Christ.
Based on Jesus’ prayer in John Chapter 17, the fulfillment of B. will promote A. “If those who believe in me are united, then the world will know that You sent me (verse 21).”
To the best of my ability, the Bible drives everything I believe. I interpret my experiences by the Bible, rather than interpreting the Bible in light of my experiences. Sometimes, the Bible makes me appear liberal and other times I look pretty much like a fundamentalist. What I want to look like is, Jesus.
One of my favorite scriptures is Acts 4:13, ‘when they saw the courage of Peter and John and that they were just ordinary men, they were astonished and took note that they had been with Jesus’. My heart’s desire is that people would say that of me.
At the end of the day, I want to be known as Christian. It is a perfectly good name. Some have worn the title with honor, some have shamed it. It is not my religion. I’m not particularly fond of religion. It is my identity. It’s who I am. It’s Whose I am. And it’s label enough for me.