The Center For Progressive Christianity
January 2010
hands in repentance
Sin and Repentance in Progressive Christianity
Repent and Sin No More?
I often receive emails from folks who suggest that I am trying to destroy Christianity. Some tell me that I am just ignorant and often suggest that if I would just read the Bible I would get it right. Others believe I am an agent of the devil, and some have even suggested that I am the Anti-Christ.  I must admit, sometimes my ego gets off on that one.  At least it seems that I am important to someone. Almost all of these types of emails suggest that the "real issue" is that we progressives are trying to ignore the "hard part" of being a committed Christian. That usually includes the statement that we do not want to believe that there are " rules" that we are supposed to live by that have been given to us by God. And the second related part is that we ignore the "truth that we are sinners," and therefore believe we have no need for repentance and redemption.  Of course, they almost always end with something like, "ha, ha, you are going to burn in hell." The interesting thing is that I really do believe that sin, repentance, and redemption are an important parts of a spiritual path, and in fact an important part of the human condition...

To Read Fred's Letter, click HERE
The Voice in the Wilderness (Excerpt)
By: Sea Raven, Dr.Min.
...As John the Baptist discovered, humans are fond of apocalypticism.  The current apocalypse is now expected to happen in 2012, which is as far as the Mayans were able (or thought it worthwhile) to project their calendar.  What has not occurred to most of us since the 1st Century is that the apocalypse is not about sinners who refuse to believe in some interventionist god who will save us.  John the Baptist was very clear about that: "Don't even start with 'We are the chosen of Abraham.'  I'm telling you, God can raise up children for Abraham right out of the rocks."  Indeed, as Jesus reminded his hometown friends, the legendary history of the Jewish people tells us both Elijah and Elisha were instruments of liberation for the enemies of Israel.  Nor is the apocalypse - judgment day - about petty sin, as we might define petty sin in the 21st Century...It's about living in Non-violent Covenant, distributive justice-compassion, and peace.  In other words, it's about repenting from violent consumption and embracing sustainable life. 

To Read This Article, click HERE
In This Issue
The Voice in the Wildnerness
Drop the Stone
What About Sin
The Way Forward
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  "What is appropriately called sin belongs to a more specific sphere of human freedom where we have the possibility of enhancing life or stifling it.  It is the realm where competitive hate abounds, and also passive acquiescence to needless victimization...the misuse of freedom to exploit other humans and the earth and thus to violate the basic relations that sustain life.  Sin lies in the distortion of relationship, the absolutizing of the rights of life and power on one side of a relation against the other parts with which it is, in fact, interdependent."

~Rosemary Radford Reuther (contemporary, Roman Catholic, feminist theologian)

Drop the Stone
By: Scott Robinson
I think it's normal to grow in tolerance for human frailty as one gains experience; the more we see of life, the harder it becomes to assume we know the whole story.   But I wonder what faculties are actually altered by exposure to life-what about us changes as we develop a broader perspective? If we conceive of the moral universe in a charts-and-tables way based on abstractions about "right" and "wrong," surely that system would remain untouched by the passage of time.  But what if increasing maturity re-frames the subject, bringing different faculties to bear?  What if, while believing we are trying to do the "right" thing, we are actually trying to do something else-and the process of growing up brings us in touch with that?

To Read This Article, click HERE
What About Sin?  A Sermon
By: Peg Pfab, Southminister
spiritual path
Obviously how we think about sin changes how we think about repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.  If we understand sin to be primarily personal... the burden is on us individually to change our behavior. Change in personal behavior is always good when we identify behaviors and thoughts that we know we need to change.  But personal change does not adequately deal with destruction and hurt and evil that can come from the corporate, communal sin. For example: we might know that we have to change our attitudes toward homeless persons...and be more generous in our personal charity.  And it is good to do so.  But that still does not change the structural economic and political situations that will continue to result in more and more homeless people.  Or we might become aware that we personally need to be more open minded to those who are different from us.  So personal transformation is good.  But that does not change the systems of racism, sexism or homophobia. That infuses much of our cultural landscape.

To Read This Sermon, click HERE
The Way Forward
By: Rev Chuck Queen

Roerich- the path
Our Christian faith should be a resource that compels us to hold our beliefs in humility, to work for peace, to listen to and treat others of different faith traditions with respect, and look for common ground on which we can stand together as children of God. "Blessed are the peacemakers," said Jesus. "Blessed are those who hunger after justice" (the kind that attends to the inequities of the disadvantaged).  Isn't it ironic and sad that so many versions of Christianity today have the opposite impact and effect, causing division and promoting inequity? Instead of breaking down walls, creating mutual trust, and building friendships, some Christians who press others to conform and convert to their faith system condemn and dismiss those who refuse to adopt their Christian interpretations.

To Read this Article, click HERE
lotus with lightThank 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
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