A young friend of mine has recently published a short article about the difference between going to a liberal arts college & being a 'liberal': being rather much of a self-professed liberal myself, I enjoyed the article, but I'm going to take it a step further! 'Liberal' is simply put, another one of those words in the English language that seems to have lost its true meaning. Merriam/Webster's Online Dictionary seems to prove my point, with the simple definition of a 'liberal' being 'one who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change : relating to or supporting political liberalism'. Only secondarily do they give its true meaning, which is 'marked by generosity'!
When Facebook asked my religious preference those many years ago, I replied that I was 'liberally preteristic'; I have not changed it ( not likely to, either ) over the past 5-10 years. Though one might read that 'preference' & have different thoughts on the matter, really, all I meant by that is that I tend to be liberal with my application of the fulfilled principles in preterism. In reality, if were were ALL liberal, the world might be a much better place! Conservatism, however, has determined that one must be conservative with what one has, in order to become wealthy, etc. ( Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with this idea )
Conservatism seems to have had its effect on love as well; we must be careful to whom we show our love or we might get burned right? The old saying, 'better to have loved & lost, then never to have loved at all' sounds about right, but even here, the 'love' referred to is, I believe, a bit different then the original! While its true that we must be careful who we share our love with, especially in this day & age, sometimes I believe we are too conservative with our love, both our love for life & our love for each other!
What is love, then? Well, put simply, in an explanation which I often use, 'it is a decision to do what is right ( by another person )'; not necessarily what that other person wants, or believes is right, but what the Word of God says is right. Love IS an action, but more than just any action, the 'thrust' of the word, the true meaning is right action! Being Liberal in Love does not meaning showing what is often called 'romantic love' with anyone & everyone ( or just those you choose to ); being Liberal in Love means making the same decision towards ALL those you meet, to act toward them in the same way, doing right by them, even if/when they d you wrong! ( We're all human; this probably won't consistently happen for most of us! )
Liberality WILL have its effect; it's what one is liberal WITH that makes the difference! If, for instance, one was to liberally show their bad or negative feelings, depending on the context, that person might find him or herself in danger of a good old-fashioned ass-kicking! In the same vein, the liberality of say, a shooting spree is probably not a good idea either ( depending on who's being shot, I guess & why ). On the other hand, if you have a lot of extra food on hand ( by extra, I mean food you don't need ), the liberal distribution of this could well make you some lasting friends. Money, the same thing, although most would argue that it's best to be more conservative with your wealth.
Being labeled a 'liberal' in this day & age unfortunately DOES carry with it the connotation of being almost what is now being termed 'progressive' ( AKA socialist/communist ). The 'liberal' denominations are the ones, for the most part, who are allowing women to preach, ordaining homosexual ( of both sexes ) & even recognizing 'gay marriages. Yes, in this day & age, being A liberal is definitely NOT looked upon kindly! Maybe it should be though, huh: not the homosexual thing maybe, but maybe if we were more generous with our love, we wouldn't be witnesses to a lot of the pain & suffering that we see all around us, on a daily basis!
Charles Haddon Shank