The Center For Progressive Christianity

Why Do We Dare to Have Hope?
The role of HOPE in the progressive Christian path

tree with light
TCPC eBulletin
July 2009
rainbow around tree Greetings!

Just a year or so after I graduated from college, I learned that one of my favorite high school teachers had cancer and was very sick. I had very fond memories of this particular teacher. She was one of those you never forget... When I found out that the cancer was in an advanced stage, I realized that I needed to visit her. I was not certain what I was going to find but I knew I wanted to tell her what a positive impact she had had on my life.  My first visit was the hardest and I was a little shocked when I saw her depleted body.  She quickly put me at ease by saying: "It doesn't look good, Freddy, but don't worry, I still have hope."
bubble cage Why? Because We Are Open to a New Paradigm

God Needs You To Get Out of the Bubble

Riverside Controversy Exposes Theological, Racial Fault Lines of the Christian Progressive Movement 

By Peter Laarman and Jonathan L. Walton 
From Religion Dispatches
July 6, 2009

What does it mean that Rhodes Scholar and Progressive Evangelical Brad Braxton resigned as senior pastor of the influential Riverside Church? In this discussion over the implications, Rev. Peter Laarman and Dr. Jonathan Walton have a conversation abouth whether multiracial churches require making white people comfortable, why God needs liberal protestants to get out of the bubble, and what the future holds for the mainline church as a whole.

"If Western Christianity finds a new, post-enlightenment, post-colonial, feminist/womanist/mujerista, anti-white supremacy paradigm, it will have the energy needed to carry something else forward. I have caught some glimpses of this outside mainline white churches, but that work is virtually ignored in them. The old paradigms have huge momentum and force, not just in the minds of clergy but also in liturgical materials of hymns, prayers, and texts that embed them deeply in the psyche. We lack the resources, tools, and time to engage the profound transformation required to move beyond our comfort zones and set points."

Response: We Might Need the End of Progressive Christianity
By Rita Nakashima-Brock

July 6, 2009
In response to the roundtable on Rev. Braxton's abrupt departure from Riverside and the crisis in Progressive Christianity, Rita Brock sees little hope in the Church as it stands.

"I think the wrong question of progressive Christianity is "what makes it Christian?" We'll only know what questions to ask of it when we get a glimpse of the different paradigm.
This essay is itself a rant and, therefore, a bit ironic. I confess it is as much an argument in my head with myself, as it is a call to other progressive Christians. I have become clearer about what might need changing only as I have caught a glimpse of a new paradigm, but changing the old one is going to be really, really hard. To get there, we have to consider the end of progressive Christianity and the birth of something else."
book coverWhy? Because Hope Brings Beauty to the Journey

Featured Book
A People's History of Christianity- The Other Side
By: Diana Butler Bass

HarperOne, 2009

This is the book that progressives and liberals have been waiting for - a deeply researched history of Christianity that sheds new light on the under-reported personalities and movements of the faith.

"Progressive faith is not about social and historical progress.  Progressive faith is not about winning. When progressive becomes hubris, it always fails. Instead, ancient tradition, deeply formed in the ideal of spiritual progress, insisted that progressive faith was about humility-our lives and the world transformed through God's beauty...But it should give pause, always remembering progress is a journey, not a destination." ~Butler Bass

Visit the TCPC store to Purchase
Click Here to Read the Review
drummer painting Why? Because There Are Progressive Christian Churches That Inspire

Hope For New Life in the Church
By: Don Murray

Excerpts:  "It was 10:30 when we arrived and already the church was nearly full. Unusual for the last Sunday in June. Normally, at least in good United Church tradition, school is out and most people have other plans for a fine Sunday morning. But this is Milford United Church and the Rev. Helen Waddell, after eleven years with these people of the Milford-Lantz Gays River Pastoral Charge, is ending her ministry. This is her last Sunday... 

Helen is an off the charts extrovert whose bright energy infects the gathered people with her joy of life and enthusiasm for the faith she is now celebrating. Worship here is a glad celebration of life, recognizing its pain but focusing on the positives and possibilities...With her kind of leadership, and people ready to grow, there is hope for new life within the church."

Read entire article here
meditating girl Why? Because We Have the Choice to Be Filled with Hope

Meditation on Choice
By: Ian Lawton,

Prayer is choice; choice about where you direct your thoughts and intentions, choice about where you place your hopes and desires, choice to slow down and focus on compassion.

Please take a moment to still your mind, and make the divine choice to come into the presence of this moment. God who is always becoming, be here, be now. Shame and fear dissolve in the presence of divine love. Blame melts in the presence of divine warmth, softening the hardest heart and easing the deepest agony.

Prayer is choice. Life is choice. Life is a prayer. Need I remind you that you are powerful beyond measure. You are the director, producer, script writer and lead actor, co-creating your unfolding, open ended play called "Choose Life."

Read On
child loving natureWhy? Because Our Intention Creates Our Reality

Prayer for Authenticity
By Bob Kleinheksel


In these quieter moments, may optimism's glow creep in and then pervade our spirits and countenance. May hope, possibility and inward smile (at least) abide side by side with any worries, fears and the rest of our human repertoire and jumble of thoughts and emotions. Summer flourishes with abundance and warmth; the litany of flowers in turn take center stage, blooming, bowing, then relinquishing their unique splendor and spray. Tiger lilies, then black-eyed susans, and on and on. As nature and emergence marches on, may we too, celebrate the now and who we are....and also who we are yet becoming.

Read On
In This Issue
God Needs You To Get Out of the Bubble
A People's History of Christianity
Hope for New Life in the Church
Meditation on Choice
Prayer for Authenticity
Lots of Hope- Feature Book
First Light- Feature Review
Feature Book
Lots Of Hope
By: Gary Wilburn
Review By:
Dean G. Watt
book cover
Progressive Publications, Stamford 2009

From the Forward of the book, to the end, Wilburn immerses the reader into the great and serene sea of Hope.  And because his Forward makes clear that he is one of those facing a prognosis of an early death from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, he is obviously not clinging to this hope by shutting out an awareness of reality.
Again and again, through his own story, the quotations and stories of others, he drives home a basic lesson, that Joy is not found through a passive life, waiting for good things to pass our way. It is found through very active commitment to ourselves being a source of Joy in our world.

Click here to read this review

Visit the TCPC Store to Purchase
Affiliates: 10% off

Quick Links
Feature Review
First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God
Review by: Mary Sue Evers, Pastor, Cedar Hills UCC
first light

If you're looking for a resource

*to help people get beyond the idea that the Kingdom of God is about heavenly reward,

*to help people understand the Biblical and historical underpinnings of the Kingdom of God as Jesus lived and taught it, and

*to help people articulate the understanding that the Kingdom of God is a present reality distinct from and often opposed to other kingdoms of our world,
then take a good look at the latest Living the Questions DVD "First Light - Jesus and the Kingdom of God,"  featuring Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan.

Their perspective, "may well be challenging, but (it is) critical to understanding what it means to follow the path of Jesus.  Borg and Crossan handle it with delicacy yet honesty."

Read Review

First Light is Currently On Sale for 20% off until end of July.  Use the TCPC discount code: fftcpc2 by following these easy steps.
TCPC Community
Search for Affiliates


We promote an understanding of Christian practice and teaching that leads to a greater concern for the way people treat each other than for the way people express their beliefs, the acceptance of all people, and a respect for other religious traditions. We affirm the variety and depth of human experience and the richness of each person's search for meaning, and we encourage the use of sound scholarship, critical inquiry, and all intellectual powers to understand the presence of God in human life. We are opposed to any exclusive dogma that limits the search for truth and free inquiry, and we encourage work that eases the pain, suffering and degradation inherent in many of the structures of society, as well as work that keeps central to the Christian life fair, open, peaceful, and loving treatment of all human beings.

Thank You
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

Did you enjoy this eBulletin?  Share with a friend by forwarding this email below.  Thanks!Use this area to provide your contacts information about your organization.
Save 15-20%
LTQ logo
Living the Questions DVD's Summer Specials

July Special: 20% off First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God thru July 31.   Visit Living the Questions and choose First Light and enter the TCPC coupon code: fftcpc2

August Special: 15% off DreamThinkBeDo - LtQ for Young Adults.  Visit Living the Questions and choose DreamThinkBeDo resource and enter the TCPC coupon code: ddtcpc2