Progressive or Conservative

Some thought occurred to me today. I want to share them with my friends

.The 8th chapter of the Gospel according to John includes an interaction between Jesus and “those Jews which believed on him.” In the 32nd verse Jesus states, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The response from that group of followers who had gathered around him is found in the 33rd verse. “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus responds in the 34th verse “Jesus replied, very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

Every society, community or social grouping shares a culture. Culture can rest on principles or on tradition. In most (if not all) instances, tradition results from the metastasizing of principles from a previous time.

In my opinion, Jesus was saying that the “law” represented such a metastasizing of principles. The principles Jesus taught were the “new wine.” The law represented “old bottles.”

Principles turn our attention to current issues and give us a window into the future. Tradition focuses our attention on the past and the metastasized principles which may no longer be sufficient to guide a society, community or other social grouping.

In contemporary society, the progressive movement builds culture on a new understanding of time honored principles whereas the conservative movement holds tradition to be of prime importance.

Several questions come to my mind.

  • What were the principles included in the truth Jesus was referring to?
  • What principles from Jesus’ teaching apply to the issues we face today?
  • From the evidence contained in his teaching, was Jesus more of a progressive or a conservative?

Is tradition that is outdated and so blocks our adherence to time honored principles