The Euphemist

Reflections on Jewish Studies and many other subjects big and little, by a perpetual student who sometimes searches a little too long for just the right word ...

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Christian, truth seeker, husband, son, brother & uncle, Lutheran pastor, musician (cello, etc.), Jewish Studies grad student, intellectual historian, aquarium enthusiast & pet owner, philologist, astronomer, Norwegian-American, Ford pickup driver, buffoon.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Far out, man! I'm a crunchy conservative!

I've just discovered, via this post in "Mere Comments", that there's a name for what I've been for nearly 30 years: a "crunchy conservative." The Mere Comments post references this Sunday Times (London) article which really describes the phenomenon more thoroughly. And I completely relate. Like writer Rod Dreher, I recoil "from a crass conservatism that had no use for conservation and which never saw a field or a forest that it didn’t want to pave over to create a Wal-Mart parking lagoon." I'm a religious traditionalist who has for years conducted my life "in certain ways that might not have been kosher with the right-wing mainstream but that flowed naturally from our conservative moral and religious beliefs."

Not that I radiate crunchiness the way that some people do, but here's where I'm coming from. When I was growing up I was deeply influenced by an interesting Bible study group my family attended. One of the chief leaders was a man named Dave who was (and still is) a career organic vegetable farmer, a conscientious objector during Vietnam, who served briefly as a missionary in Mexico under Wycliffe Bible Translators, who with his wife was a pioneer of home-schooling during the 1970s. He introduced us to Francis Schaeffer, a Christian thinker who visibly cultivated a Christian countercultural image, and whose home in Switzerland became a ministry called "L'Abri", to which a steady stream of young people on the "hippie trail" came to visit during the 1960s. Very conservative in his Bible-believing convictions, Schaeffer wrote a number of books, including Pollution and the Death of Man.


Francis A. Schaeffer - Patron saint of crunchy conservatives?


Years later while living near Indianapolis my crunchy roommate Michael H (a 7th Day Adventist at the time) introduced me to the amazing natural food grocery in Indy's "Broad Ripple" neighborhood, which I continued to visit occasionally after marrying my wife, also a crunchy conservative. Through her I met a whole group of crunchy people who belonged to a church she had belonged to for awhile, who in the words of one young convert were "a group of hippies who never sold out." Their church had made a long journey from being an idiosyncratic sect to embracing the Eastern Orthodox Church, but in the process had retained some rather countercultural ideals, such as a semi-communal lifestyle and yes, lots of natural food. So what I'm saying is, I keep on meeting Christians every so often who combine traditional Christian beliefs with "crunchy" ideals such as taking care of oneself with good food, taking care of one another through community compassion, and taking care of the world through conservation. How did it come to be that these things would seem contradictory? Isn't "conservatism" really about conserving things? Does it make sense that "conservatives" and "conservationists" have somehow been separated into opposing camps? Last March my wife and I attended a natural cooking seminar at the 7th Day Adventist Church. Though I have my differences with the Adventists, I appreciate the fact that (unlike some of us) they actually have a vision of how Christian faith can reshape every detail of life - and parts of the Adventist vision are a bit on the crunchy side - for example, love them wheat germ patties!

Anyway, I'm glad to know that I'm not alone. Are any of you out there "crunchy conservatives? And could someone please pass the scrambled tofu?

7 Comments:

Blogger Hippie Christian said...

No, you are not alone, there are others!

"Crunchy Conservatives"... could be the same as "Hippie Christian"?

Now I need to find some of Francis Schaeffer's works to read!

Be a blessing and be blessed!

Peace, Love, and Light through Jesus the Christ! (John 14:6)

Kevin
Hippie Christian Blog
www.hippiechristian.blogspot.com

12:53 PM  
Anonymous michael h said...

Thank you for mentioning me, Michael...I am sincerely honored. Falafel?

Hi Kevin...

5:58 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Yes, I think "Crunchy Conservatives" and "Hippie Christians" might be pretty much the same thing!

Yeah, maybe someone could pass the falafel, too ... haven't had much lately, though Michael H remembers when it was a daily part of my diet ...

Somehow I'm not surprised that Michael H & Kevin already apparently know each other ...

7:19 AM  
Blogger Wendee Holtcamp said...

I relate more to the term Hippie Christian than crunchy conservative but my theology is very conservative (though not fundamentalist in any way!). I like your post! I'm definitely crunchy, maybe I'm a conservative-liberal bohemian Christian - ha ha!

10:43 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Cool! Thanks, Wendee!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Annette (Holston) Heidmann said...

Michael! Great to see your blog - and loved the pic with you, Vance and Jeff re: the Great Cello Reunion! Yeah, we're a bunch of home-schooling, bread-making, vegetable eating, sandal wearing, mountain hiking, ranch living Arizona Crunchy Cons. And lovin' it!
:)

3:54 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Far out! Glad you found your way here! For all you out there, Annette is Jeff's sister, who plays viola & was also in on those glory days of college (people I know keep on showing up here. Hmm ... ) Be sure to steer Jeff & Doug & your folks here too, if you haven't already. Haven't talked to your folks & Doug lately, even though they're just a couple hours up the freeway ...

6:34 AM  

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