A definition of ‘conservative’

An interesting quote in an interview about Rudy Rasmus’s latest book:

I think I mentioned in the book that my friend Jonathan Gregory defined conservative as a person who feels as though they have something to conserve. It transcends political party, religious agenda, socio-economic status. Anyone can be a conservative who feels as though – whatever the possession is that is in their care – it is more important than their relationship with the person in front of them.

I wonder how to read this statement in light of story of Uzzah and the Ark or even Jesus’ words in the June 22 gospel reading about being a sword that divides families and friends.

How does the value of “relationship” weigh in the biblical witness against other commands of God? Does God sometimes call for forsaking “relationship” for the sake of other things? When? Can we discern a pattern or principle?

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3 thoughts on “A definition of ‘conservative’

  1. I realize definitions are necessary for discourse, but at times things can get a bit dicey. Coming up with an unquestionable, all-inclusive definition for something like “conservatism” is incredibly challenging. You always leave some aspect out.
    And, depending on your bias, you could potentially adopt a definition that affirms your strawman argument against x or y. I’m torn on whether or not Gregory’s definition falls prey to this last part.

    1. Me, too. I did think it was interesting, but as it is used hear to set up a choice between conserving something and being interested in relationships, I do think it might fall foul of your strawman concern. Still, I thought it was interesting enough to share.

  2. Jesus definitely understood that God comes FIRST- even before family obligations. He called disciples to leave their possessions, homes and families in order to follow him. Rev. Rasmus has it wrong.

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