Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mercy, Mercy Me!

As I reflect on the nonsensical blather coming from gay conservatives about this election, I wonder how I could ever have bought into so much of what they said. Granted, I was angry and disgruntled about progressives not acting like progressives, but I'm embarassed, now, to admit how susceptible this made me to gay-Right rot.

It is much, much easier to be a conservative than it is to be a progressive. The Right caters to the lowest common denominators: hostility toward anyone different from oneself, suspicion of any idea that does not promise immediate gratification to oneself, and fear, fear, fear. Conservative politics are childish; they appeal to the sulking, cowering little kid inside each of us.

Progressivism, on the other hand, sets the bar considerably higher: concern for others (even those different from oneself), dedication to the common good, optimism about the future. You have to be an adult to commit yourself to a Leftward course. And because of its very ambitious nature, progressivism is hard to follow with super-consistency.

Conservatives -- especially gay ones -- love to criticize progressives for their inconsistencies. But we must consider the source.

My former pastor's problem is not that she is evil; indeed, all in all, she's a pretty decent sort. Her problem is, I believe, a case of runaway vanity: a common failing in progressives. She thinks, quite wrongly, that if she isn't consistently progressive and enlightened a hundred percent of the time, she must be a bad person. But her inconsistency does not make her bad; it merely makes her human.

In her scheme to keep the Latinos in her church from finding out that gays are welcome there, she is making a very big mistake. She thinks that she must "manage" us all, and she is wrong. Now that she has met with criticism for this scheme, she's reacting with hurt and outrage -- a bruised ego. Her image of herself is being challenged, and she doesn't like it one little bit.

Of all the people who should be able to show mercy to themselves, progressive Christians should lead the way. God is far more patient with her than she is with herself. We should, as well, be able to help the Left, in general, to be more patient with itself and less over-proud. The excessive pride is a defense against the bitter self-flagellation that would otherwise result from the occasional discovery that one doesn't always live up to a high standard. It accounts, I think, for much of what non-progressives see as obnoxiousness.

What we must NEVER succumb to is the temptation to lower the standard. Conservatives and their evil twins, the "Centrists," are forever advising us to do that. They don't like the constant reminder that they could be doing so much better than they are.

At least we're TRYING to do better than they are. What would help us in this endeavor, perhaps more than anything else, would be to remember that the same God Who shows such steadfast mercy to others wants us to extend at least a little of it to ourselves.


At 4:15 AM, Blogger Lainey said...

Thanks for your blog.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger Lori Heine said...

You're welcome, Lainey. I lapsed for quite a while, but I intend to post every week now.

I know that people like to know the blogs they visit will reliably have new posts. At least for the time being, I'll be posting every Wednesday.


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