My Dad and I did not always agree. In fact we were often in opposite corners. Our view of the world, and our view of Christianity, was not always in synch. I would characterize myself as a progressive Christian--what some would call liberal. My Dad was clearly an evangelical--what some would call conservative. But we both had regard for the other. And neither of us considered the other beyond the pale! Our discussions could, and did, get rather heated at times, but they were always respectful and marked by the real love we had for each other.
Dad was an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, as am I. And as such, his theology often put him in very much of a minority position when it came to denominational matters. While my theology aligns with most of my colleagues in the Untied Church of Christ, Dad's did not. But throughout his life he remained a part of the denomination that had ordained him to Christian ministry. He often referred to himself as a member of the loyal opposition: those who remain connected to the institution, who continue to respect it, yet who often find themselves at odds with its policies or positions, and who feel compelled to speak out against them. That was Dad.
I raise this issue of loyal opposition, because in the time ahead, I suspect that's where I will find myself as various issues, ranging from abortion rights and healthcare to same-sex marriage and immigration, are addressed by our national leaders. I will more than likely be a part of the loyal opposition. I have enormous respect for our nation. I have enormous respect for democracy. And those we have elected will be those who hold key roles in the system. But I will not remain silent if I feel the rights and needs of the marginalized, the oppressed, the downtrodden, are being ignored. I will speak up. I will speak out.
I am a Christian. I am an American. And I am proud to own both labels. But, I will not sit idly by if the rights and privileges I enjoy as a white Christian male are denied to others due to their sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, or nation of origin. I will, I suspect often, be a member of the loyal opposition.
(The photo above was taken with my Dad sometime in the late eighties.)