Sunday, September 25, 2016

Why I'm a liberal ...

I’m a liberal because of my spiritual beliefs.

I don’t usually talk about this. Like my father before me, I want to be careful that I don’t become a hypocrite by presenting myself as something I’m not. I belong to many communities where I’m not sure the nuances of my beliefs will always be apparent and I fear being classified. I am, to the point, very uncomfortable expressing these things. At this moment, however, in the hopes of furthering understanding, it seems appropriate to share.

I believe very deeply in the divine. I believe that the natural and the “supernatural” are one and the same. I believe that life is the presence of the divine. I believe that to look into the face of others is to see the face of God.

I have studied the teachings of many religious leaders. I am from Alabama and I was raised as a Christian and my dad and I spent many long nights talking about the bible. The teachings of Jesus were held up to me as the truth. Jesus was, in my mind, a philosopher and a social activist. From the turning over of the tables of the money changers to the “giving unto Caesar” or the eye of the needle or the loaves and the fishes or the giving of coats and cloaks and even unto his death, - love your enemies - Jesus, as the bible describes him, was about asking us to see, to feel, our common humanity.

These ideas of love and mutual care are ideas that at every turn of my spiritual quest I have found reaffirmed as the truth. While I fall short (so short) – these are ideals to which I aspire.

Jimmy Carter is a hero of mine. I have many, but in terms of politicians, he’s stayed true to his principles. Unfortunately, I don’t think we were ready to follow where he was trying to lead us.

I hope that as a nation we will reject nastiness. I hope we will lift up all of our citizens. I hope we will open our hearts and see the grief of others. I hope that we will work to ease the suffering of this world and to truly embrace and value all of humanity. I hope that as a people we come to understand the fleeting nature of life and that we become more generous with one another.