Friday, April 13, 2007
Some things just come full circle. I grew up in a small southern conservative town and I learned pretty quickly that my folks were different from the rest. My dad was the only "flaming liberal" I knew and I would cringe when he would drive in to pick me up from my private Christian school. Why?? His unbelievable array of bumper stickers!
Sierra Club. Greenpeace. Amnesty International. ACLU. Local and national Democratic nominees. Boy would I get the stares. But I secretly admired the fact that he lived swimming strongly against the small-town cultural flow and did not care what others (who he deemed as the "narrow-minded") thought about him. He gave money to and employed the poor. He came to the rescue of drug-addicts who worked for him. He took African-Americans to register to vote. He gave lesbians jobs. He was, as my mother noted in his eulogy, an iconoclast...one who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions. Synonyms include nonconformist, rebel, dissenter, and radical.
Both my parents took great interest in social justice and care for the down-and-out. My mother's closest friends were African-American women. She helped a woman with cancer in the last months of her life. She moved in and took care of one of her dearest friends as she looked death in the eye. She counseled the hurting, the suicidal, the divorced, and spiritually-searching women and sought to give them Jesus as the answer to their lives. She has always had compassion and her walk with the Lord has shown most brightly through her selfless acts of service.
Idealistic parents from opposing ends of the religious spectrum yet bound together in many ways by common causes and getting down to what things are really important in life.
I am the blend. I love Jesus deeply, and through years of deeply wounding spiritual abuse want to serve and love the hurting through grace, mercy, love and compassion. If I can work with Him to loosen spiritual chains in other believers then I will rejoice. Yet I also have this crunchy environmental side that loves nature, holistic living, and things that in evangelical circles seem "radical" and non-conforming. I want to see believers recognize that the Lord cares for His environment and has given us beautiful means and whole answers to our most basic needs and desires for abundant living. A Jesus-loving iconclast?
So I have come full-circle and put the bumper stickers on the mini-van. A mommy full of traditional conservative values yet radical in lifestyle. Will my kids be embarrassed one day by my bumper statements? Maybe, but I think they too will realize that being different is in the genes.