The Center For Progressive Christianity
field sun Recovering Christians
What Does Progressive Christianity Have to Offer?
March 2009
In This Issue
Recovering Christians
A Heretic's Guide to Eternity
From the Third Floor of the Garage
Why I Left Christianity
Pagan Christ- Review
New DVD with Wilber and Keating
Easter Resources and New Music
Engaging the Recovering Christians
By Fred Plumer

flower opening

Yes, mega churches tend to have big back doors and suffer even greater losses, on a percentage basis, than most of our mainline churches in our transient society. However, studies have found that only a small percentage of these ex-mega-church-Christians show up in our mainline churches. The vast majority simply stop going to church. They often become part of that growing segment of our society that self-identifies as "spiritual but not religious," now one of the fastest growing groups in our country. Some researchers are wondering if progressive Christianity is going to be skipped by others who now identify as "spiritual but not religious."
So how do we progressive Christians share our perspective so recovering Christians can hear us and actually get excited about the progressive path of Jesus and what our churches have to offer?   


Kaila smiles
Quick Links...
Featured Book
A Heretic's Guide to Eternity
By: Spencer Burke
and Barry Taylor
Book Cover- A Heretics Guide
"It's easy for inquisition-launchers to go on fault-finding missions; they have lots of practice and they're really good at it. What's more challenging, and regarding this book, much more worthwhile, is to instead go on a truth-finding mission. And yes, even in a book with 'heretic' in the title, I believe any honest reader can find much truth worth seeking."
From the Foreword by Brian D. McLaren


Read Review Here
By: Rev Lorenzen
Review 2-Watt
Celebrate Pluralism Sunday with TCPC
On May 3, 2009
world religions
On May 3, 2009, churches around the world will dedicate their worship to a celebration of our interfaith world. As Progressive Christians, we recognize that other religions can be as good for others as ours is for us.  We can grow closer to God and deeper in compassion-and we can understand our own traditions better-through a more intimate awareness of the world's religions.  Churches will be using elements of other world faiths in their sermons, litanies, and music; many will feature speakers and singers from other faith traditions. MORE INFO
Join Our Mailing List

 Buy any one item from our store and receive a FREE copy of So You Think You're Not Religious, By: Jim Adams, TCPC Founder

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There is a whole segment of our society that have been damaged by religion or disgusted by it.  Most of these people are not heading to their local progressive Christian churches, but are rejecting religion altogether.  So the questions are- what are recovering Christians looking for, why did they leave in the first place, and what can we offer them?  How do we let them know that there is a Christianity that is non-dogmatic, that is open and inclusive?   That there is a Christianity that is more about the search, the questions, and the spirit rather than fear of eternal damnation, fear of change, fear of what is different.  These are people that have actively begun thinking for themselves...but many have stopped searching, or in their search have simply not found church communities that are different enough.  This eBulletin addresses these questions and presents ideas for how we can be a light for recovering Christians and how our churches or groups can offer a Christianity that is different.
From the Third Floor of the Garage
By: Spencer Burke
martha and mary Excerpts:  Being blackballed by the local church is one thing, being blackballed by the evangelical community as a whole is quite another. In recent years, I've become increasingly concerned about the power certain evangelical personalities have over popular opinion. Call me crazy, but it seems like many of my church friends live more on every word that comes from the mouth of the James Dobsons of the world than from the mouth of God. It isn't that what Dobson and others say is necessarily wrong, it's just that so many people have stopped thinking for themselves-and those who haven't, no longer feel safe to express a dissenting opinion...
Jesus challenged the religious establishment in his day. He answered his critics with powerful, thought-provoking questions. He wasn't afraid to take on tough topics or discuss contentious issues. Spiritual McCarthyism, meanwhile, promotes exactly the opposite. It encourages people to orchestrate their lives to avoid censure and minimize risk. In short, it teaches people to live in fear-to put up and shut up. I don't know. I guess I'm just not sure that fear, intimidation and control should be the defining hallmarks of Christianity.

Why I Left Christianity
By: Steven Locks
Kaila smiles Excerpts:  If Jesus & St. Paul etc. really didn't believe in literal hell, then the fact that they didn't make it abundantly transparent that they meant something else was just utterly culpable irresponsibility to me, so abhorrent is the merest sniff of that doctrine and so dreadful the consequences of Christians believing it down the ages.

This was the last straw. I had already found so much in philosophy, psychology, history, biblical criticism and comparative religion that raised such serious questions for religious beliefs that eventually the bubble had to burst. Like suddenly seeing the solution to a mathematical problem that has so far been intractable and is now totally clear, I realized that Christianity and my feelings were all the results of messy human history, sociology and our psychological tangle with all its desire, hopes and fears. I didn't choose to suddenly believe this. It was just inescapable. I had allowed myself to ask if Christianity made more sense, and was at least equally rich if it was not of God, and overwhelmingly this was what I found...

Due to my total change of world view I also had some very weird experiences that were not like anything I had expected. I was struck enormously by what I called "existential shock." I was completely amazed at the mere fact of existence...I felt transformed, awed, excited - the whole world seemed more special than can ever be said. Life was far more poignant without Christianity than it had ever been with it. I was not expecting this to happen to me. I thought these experiences were what converted people to religion, not what you got when you left!
Feature Review
The Pagan Christ, Recovering the Lost Light

By: Thomas Harpur
Review by: Dean Watt
book cover The great tragedy is that in the 3rd and 4th centuries of our Christian era, the understanding of eternal truths told in story form, without concern for "historical accuracy" and "orthodoxy", lost out to the need for uniformity and control, turning "religion " into another form of power used by one group over others...

I am predicting the following:  As the works of those like Earl Doherty and  Tom Harpur, produce the growing evidence of the non-historical origin of the Jesus story, it will be seen by fundamentalists as a further slide of Christian liberals toward the "Heretic's Hell". On the other hand, I believe there will be a growing group of Christians for whom this perspective will be a welcome and positive gift of a more deeply held and profound Christian faith.

New DVD for Sale: The Future of Christianity
Father Thomas Keating and Ken Wilber
Kaila smiles
 Integral Life offers a new 2-disc DVD entitled The Future of Christianity: A Startling New Vision of Hope for the 21st Century.  Join Ken Wilber and renowned Christian contemplative Father Thomas Keating as they present their newest-and some say most interesting work! Discover a vision of the Christian journey that has radical implications for our spiritual lives and for the world as a whole.

Click here for more info or to purchase
New Resources and Music
Jesus crown of thorns
Easter Season Resources

Mary and James Under the Cross

A Play by RB Sperling with E. Lindsay and C. Toaspern
Devastated by the death of her son, Mary seeks solace in the last place she saw him. James, fearful of encountering the centurions who crucified his brother, seeks temporary protection in his mother's arms. Together they try to understand what the future may hold for them.
Read Here

What Else Could I have Done? Maunday Thursday
A Play by Fred Plumer
This is the Passion story.  The story of Jesus' betrayal and his death.  Come and walk with the people that were with him during that time.  Read Here

CD cover mandalaNew Music
Mandala- No Hands But Yours

Christian music with a worldbeat Sufi groove. Drawing on a comprehensive musical education and a diverse background in multiple musical styles, the members of Mandala join to bring forth a joyous noise that at once is deeply personal and transcendently universal.  Visit the TCPC Store to Order
Thank you for taking this journey with us as we continue to encourage the growth and understanding of a Christianity that is open, inclusive, just, loving and compassionate.  As you delve deeper into the heart of this beautiful and authentic spiritual path, we hope you share it with those around you, educate those who desire to learn, and most importantly let it fill you with light and loving kindness.
Fred Plumer
and the Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity, (253) 303-0022

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