True Conservative? True Liberal?

I posted this very short article from the Anglican Digest back in July, 2003. I think I need to post it again. I think I am going to use it in my sermon today at St. Paul’s – Orthodoxy and/or Orthopraxy, and when considering the two, what causes the world to hate us, today?
This was written in 1991 by The Very Rev. George Back, then Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. It was reprinted by The Anglican Digest
Conservatives? Liberals?
I have heard rumors that conflicts between conservatives and liberals are tearing the Church apart. Don’t believe it.
Few of these people exist. I have had letters and phone calls from some who claim to be one or the other. As far as I can tell, they are impostors. Of course, I can only judge from their behavior.
If the Church had many conservatives, the buildings would be packed on Sundays as they keep the Sabbath holy. Our Church would have money since they would tithe 10% of their income. Our Church life would be glorious as they would undertake all the traditional Sunday School, retreat, and holy day obligations. An authentic personal morality would be exemplified in their holy lifestyles.
If the Church had many liberals, they would be enthusiastically including people all the time. The Church would grow as they reached out to the poor and the isolated in various ministries. Our service ministries would be overwhelmed with volunteers and resources. An authentic social conscience would be exemplified in the compassionate lifestyles.
Judging only by behavior, the Church has too few religious conservatives and religious liberals. God bless the ones we have; they are doing wonderful work.
Then where is the problem? There are numerous anti-conservatives and anti-liberals. These are people who compare their particular ideology with other’s actual behavior. Their convenient posture enables them to be both righteous and removed at the same time.
Both know that others need to change their bad habits. The sins, failures, hypocrisy, and mediocrity of these others provide a good reason not to attend worship and not to give money and not to serve energetically and not to love affectionately in the Lord’s name.
Religion is behavior, not theology. To worship God with all one’s heart, mind, soul, and strength is not an idea, it is a practice. To love one’s neighbor as an _’idea’_ is an illusion. Love must take up space and time; it costs lots of money and much energy.
Church is a place for religious behavior, where one worships God and serves God’s children. It is large enough to include true religious conservatives and true religious liberals, since they only emphasize one or the other aspect of religion.
The Church will never be at peace until the commitment to God and the Gospel of our Lord take priority over any personal warp to some left or right ideas. People who have a primary commitment to their own opinions and a secondary interest in religion always threaten to destroy the Church.
What good reason and right opinion do you have to excuse yourself from the costly practice of true religion?