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Is Progressive the New Liberal?
By: Peg Pfab
progressive simply the "new liberal"? My perspective is yes and no. "Progressive Christianity" does not lend itself easily
to definition. It is more of a movement;
a path; an approach than a belief system. It is often more interested in
spirituality than religion. Unlike the "liberal churches" of the 1960's and
later, it is not necessarily closely aligned with one political
perspective. So how might we describe
Coming Back to Earth
from gods, to God, to Gaia
By: Lloyd Geering
The mainline churches in the Western world are declining, concludes
Lloyd Geering, because they are "all out of step" with the modern
secular world. This is not so much a result of the supposed renegade
behavior of the secular world as the failure of the church to take
the next steps in its path of faith. Abraham left his idols behind to go
out into the unknown. In contrast, the churches reveal a lack of faith
by insisting on an infallible Bible and a set of unchangeable doctrines
tailored to an obsolete worldview. In Coming Back to Earth, Geering
calls upon us to complete the work of the Second Axial Age by bringing
the sacred-banished to an imaginary heavenly realm in the wake of the
First Axial Age-back to earth.
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We hope you are enjoying this Autumn season, when Nature begins her transformation. As we participate and celebrate this journey- the first signs of the transition toward death and new life- may we be open to all the wisdom that our teachers, our guides, and the universe presents. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, you are already passing into the birth of Spring. Wherever in the world this finds you, life- as we see in Nature- is a series of transitions, of journeys into new awareness, of letting go of the old, and celebrating the new. Progressive Christianity follows this same pattern. It is not a stagnant path- it is open to transformation and to evolution. In fact, an evolving understanding of ones path and belief system is inherent to Progressive Christianity
. So, we ask: Why do we need Progressive Christianity?
Some people may find this a stepping stone, while others find it is a landing place. Regardless, we hope you know that we support you on your own journey of transformation- wherever that leads you. And as you find yourself in those sticky, sometimes icky transitions in life, may your spiritual journey offer you the wisdom you are searching for. We welcome your comments
, articles, and sermons
that you would like to share on this subject. Happy transitions!
|Aren't We All Christians?|
By: Fred Plumer
Frequently, after a lecture or seminar, someone will ask
me: "Why do you have to call it
Progressive Christianity? Aren't we all
Christians?" These were usually people who seemed to be a little on edge, and
sometimes even angry, but their questions were sincere and frankly, they are
I think it is important to note that the term "progressive"
was part of the American Christian dialogue over a hundred years ago. Toward
the end of the nineteenth century there was an active group of well respected
clergy who initiated a movement that had a profound impact both short and long term.
In his fascinating book, The War for Righteousness, Richard M. Gamble writes: "The
self-described "progressives" among America's Protestant clergy at the turn of
the twentieth century were well known in church circles and beyond for their
advanced thinking on theology, politics, and foreign affairs. As they faced the
prospect of a new century, these ministers and academics thought of themselves
as broad-minded, humane, and cosmopolitan, in harmony with the very best
scientific, political, and theological wisdom of the age. In short, they were
among the "right thinking" leaders of their day. These reformers have since
been labeled "liberal" or modernist by historians, the word "progressive suited
their character and their times."
Certainly this movement had strong social influence, not all
of it good, as Gamble points out in his book in some detail. But I believe that
it is important to point out that even back then, the movement was first about
rethinking theology and attempting to move Christianity into the 20th
century, over one hundred years ago. William Jewett Tucker wrote: "The first
effect of the progressive departure in the field of strictly theological
inquiry was to bring about a change in the prevailing conception of God...the
conception of God must be affected by the advance in our understanding of
|What is Progressive Christianity For?|
By: Philip Sudworth
With permission from Progressive Christianity Network-Britain
writers point out quite rightly that when we try to introduce people to faith, the
starting point has to be where people are and not where we would like them to
be. All too often the message given by
preachers has been: "Just get to where I am, by believing what I tell you to
believe, and you'll be all right." Convinced
that they have found the only safe route to salvation, they want people to walk
in their footprints. If we reject this
approach and want to empower people to follow their own spiritual journeys from
where they are, how do we give them a sense of direction or support them in
high proportion of people in this country cannot accept that a God of love
would require a blood sacrifice or horrific execution (even of himself (?)) to
satisfy his sense of justice before he could forgive people or that everything
that happens is subject to the all-powerful God who generated the universe in
one creative act. So they find
themselves outside traditional Christianity. But where exactly are they spiritually? What is their starting point? They are all different, of course; but where
are the bulk of them?
|Progressive Christianity Q and A|
By: Jim Burklo
From Musings- a TCPC blog
Last week, I got an email
from a woman who is on a spiritual quest, exploring progressive
She asked me the following questions, to which I responded....
1) Which earlier Christian and non-Christian
philosophers had the most influence in forming this belief or way within Christianity?
2) When did the Progressive Christian belief start?
3) Who have been and are the scholars of the Progressive Christian path?
4) What books and authors can you recommend to understand all of the
|A Different Clergy Voice|
month I write with a sad and heavy heart. Five young men have died due to
suicide. The common thread between them is that they were young, Gay and
experiencing harsh harassment and devastating discrimination from their peers.
Current statistics inform us that 9 out of 10 Gay/Lesbia/Bi-Sexual and
Transgendered Young People experience such dehumanizing and demoralizing
treatment every day. We are informed, also, that they are 30% more likely to
commit suicide than their peers.
and Progressive Churches and Clergy have, for far too
long, endeavored to be conciliatory and civil in reaching out to educate and
inform those who perpetuate and promote this hostile environment. They do so
with rejecting the known and available Biblical Scholarship and Clinical
Evidence relating to the issue of this area of human sexuality. The limited
texts (only 7 of them) are taken out of their cultural and creedal context and
mistranslated and misapplied. All Biblical and Clinical Scholarship is rejected
in favor of this Literal Interpretative Viewpoint. It is sad that this
scholarship has fallen on deaf ears and dead hearts. Tragic that it results in
the marring, maiming, and murdering of human beings. "Ignorance", as
the poet has proclaimed, "isn't bliss" it is criminal when "it
is folly to be wise."
Does the Historical Jesus
By: Peter Laarman
Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting
Article From ReligionDispatches.org
Historical Jesus- Unknown Artist
What difference it makes when the Jesus of history
turns out to be considerably more interesting than the myth-encrusted Christ
created by the church over the centuries. Or does it make any difference at
Back when I was a theological pup attending the
mildly neo-orthodox Yale
I was taught that it's actually a better move to place your bets on the Christ
of Faith than on the Jesus of History, about whom nothing conclusive can ever
be known. Dom Crossan and his Jesus Seminar colleagues have been systematically
challenging the "nothing can be known" assertion, along with its peculiar
corollary: "Whatever can be known matters less than historic church
teaching and church practice."
For example, they think it matters a great deal to
be able to bracket the weirdly anachronistic and formulaic statements
attributed to Jesus of Nazareth that were never spoken by the Galilean upstart
but that were put into his mouth by early church types.
Thank you for taking this journey with us as
we continue to encourage the growth and understanding of a Christianity
open, inclusive, just, loving and compassionate. As you delve deeper
the heart of this beautiful and authentic spiritual path, we hope you
with those around you, educate those who desire to learn, and most
let it fill you with light and loving kindness.
and The Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity