Wednesday, May 9, 2007

In Praise of Conservatives, Fundamentalists and Republicans

Stained Glass 2
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Just to let you know I could be even-handed if I so chose…

Here’s to Miss Marie, my fifth grade Sunday School teacher, who ensured that I knew the books of the Bible by heart and had me learn a memory verse from the Bible every week. Who prayed for my salvation and gave me a tiny old lady hug the day I got saved, with tears in her eyes. She loved me well.

Here’s to countless others who taught me in Sunday School back in the day. To a person, they were impossibly great individuals.

Here’s to my mom and dad. They taught me peacemaking with their literal take on the Bible.

Here’s to Pastor Schaefer, my first pastor, who preached the Bible inside and out. Who I can’t recall if he taught we should take the Bible literally (probably did) but who definitely taught us to take it seriously. He also loved well.

Here's to the fella who was the best man in my wedding. He, in his sort of fundamentalism, helped lead me to where I am today with his fiery interest in seeking God's ways.

Here’s to Charles Sheldon, the author of “In His Steps” (the book from which the now-trite, “what would Jesus do?” phrase came - found here online). I don’t know that he was a conservative, but suspect that would how he would be identified today. His book taught that, in order to take the Bible seriously, we must take seriously how we treat the “least of these.”

[This would be the book that most likely started me in the steps that I walk now. Being written at the start of the century last century, it could probably be called a bit formal, stuffy and overly earnest in writing style, but it changed my life.]

Here’s to Mark Hatfield, Republican Senator from Oregon and Harold Stassen, Republican politician in several roles. They give a good connotation to the term “conservative politician,” that has been so sullied of late. May their tribe increase!

Here’s to all the kind, dedicated, loving, strong conservative men and women out there who represent their faith communities and families so well. They help make America great and the world a better place to live.


GreenmanTim said...

Good people, God love 'em, come in all shapes, sizes and persuasions

Larry Who said...

Thank God for all the Miss Marie's, known and unknown, who have prayed for people like us.

Erudite Redneck said...

"In His Steps" is alongside "The Pilgrim's Progress" in my earliest extrabiblical readings. Later, in early college, was "The Pilgrim's Regress." If the Canon were ever reopened, I'd nominate all three.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

In His Steps was Sheldon's attempt to popularize the Social Gospel by means of a novel--and it worked. So, at the time, it was hardly considered "conservative."

To Harold Stassen and Mark Hatfield, I would add such noble Republicans as Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, and, to a lesser degree, Gerald Ford.

To a list of "great fundamentalists," I would add William Jennings Bryan. Bryan is remembered (and both loved and hated for) his role in the Scopes evolution trial in 1925, but before that he repeatedly ran for U.S. president on a progressive social justice platform. A pacifist, he resigned as Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State when Wilson broke his campaign promised to keep the U.S. out of WWI.

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks, all.

Michael, it was conservatives who enthusiastically pushed me to read and celebrate In His Steps...
so, I know that it is honored by at least modern conservatives.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Dan, I didn't mean that, these days, no conservatives read In His Steps. They do--very enthusiastically. This always amuses me because it's clear that they don't know the Social Gospel origins of the book.

brd said...