Friday, August 21, 2015

Evangelical, Progressive, Fundamentalist, Liberal - What's in a Word?

My Division Officer in Rota, Spain, had a phrase I used as a mantra for some time, "Words have meaning.  Use them wisely."  In that vein, I spent a deal of time today with Mr. Webster and a host of internet articles researching how some people describe themselves and others, when it comes to Life Outlooks.  It was enough to make anyone's head spin.  ~  I was raised with a certain set of values, instilled to me by the viewpoints/actions of my parents/society.  Over the past 15 years, I have worked extremely hard to "know myself".  I've studied Multi-Variable Calculus and Differential Equations, along with their applications.  I've studied both the Old and New Testaments of The Bible along with various Commentaries.  I've studied how tones come together in a rhythmic fashion to make "Music", and endeavored to create my own.  I've studied the Opinions and Decisions of The Supreme Court of The United States as well as the writings of numerous Political Philosophers.  I search for the Deep Truths that defy words to explain them.  The result of this hard work, is that I feel very comfortable with my place in the Universe.

My viewpoints on some things are very far removed from small-town Muldrow, Oklahoma, from whence I hail. Although strangely, mysteriously, inexplicably, my Values themselves have not changed, my connection to them has simply been refined.  What's mainly changed is the way I see others and how those Values reveal themselves in my thoughts and actions.  When I was younger, I mixed Politics and Religion freely, thinking that was "right".  Today, I am very much against their mixing, not because I found the correct answer was not to do it, but rather because I found not mixing them was what's right for me.  When I was younger, I consciously applied value decisions to people based upon their intelligence, because I believed that Truth could be found by anyone, save for the lazy.  Today, I don't do that, not because I think Truth can't be found by anyone, but rather because I've found the Truth that Love demands we don't despise our Brother.

Our world is complicated.  Some people are smarter than others; some people are more compassionate than others.  I stand convinced we could all do worse than to learn something new, appreciate something old, and embrace someone in need.