One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary. To be conservative today is to miss the whole point, for conservatism means standing in the flow of the status quo, and the status quo no longer belongs to us. If we want to be fair, we must teach the young to be revolutionaries, revolutionaries against the status quo.~ Francis Schaeffer
We inherit the terms of debate and discussion. The U.S. is a two party system, debates are drawn long liberal and conservative lines, and allowable ideas are carefully controlled – though how is another matter. In short, we are called to choose sides. But for those who take the time to ponder and think about these conditions the liberal/conservative divide starts to look more and more hollow. For the Christian, who has chosen to follow Christ (this does not necessarily include all who claim the designation “Christian), the cultural terms of debate pale in comparison to Christ’s new commandment: To love others as he has loved us. This love, and all of its implications, completely transcends conservatism and liberalism. But this is old news.
The quote above, which is a great quote, may be surprising to many conservative Christians who think of Francis Schaeffer (when they think of him at all anymore) as a famous conservative voice within Christian circles (largely based on his stance against abortion). Schaeffer directly challenged a powerful hegemony within much of Christianity today. That hegemony, driven mostly by the so called Religious Right, defines the terms of acceptable language and faith for many Christians. But Schaeffer saw it as a trap. The Religious Right’s project is, in fact, a turning away from Christ. It is a way of defining the Christian life in terms of social and cultural agendas rather than by the tranforming and radical message of a biblical Christianity. (The antidote is not in some kind of “religious left” either.) As Schaeffer points out more specifically elsewhere, Christ was not a “conservative,” and neither should be his followers.