In “A Changed Man” I said I wanted to make “this new/old way of looking at Christianity accessible to that are struggling with the “cognitive dissonance” I spoke of earlier so that they don’t have to go through all the crap I did to get here.” So, what am I talking about? Basically, progressive Christianity, the emerging church and emergence Christianity. Today, we’re going to start with progressive Christianity. Navigating this maze can be tricky, but, lucky for you, I’m here to be your guide. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.
I know a disclaimer is a hell of a way to get started, but let me say a couple of things: because of the format at But Not Yet, there is a space constraint; that being if I go on too long, your eyes will glaze over and you’ll quit reading before you get the information you need. So, understand that what you see here is, at best, a very brief synopsis of these subjects. I will, however, direct you to some most excellent resources by people who know a lot more about them than I do. Understand that I’m not a philosopher, nor am I a professional theologian and there is a distinct possibility that I’ll get some of this wrong. I want to apologize in advance if I offend or upset anyone. Okay, the disclaimer is done, so let’s get started.
As I said, today, we’re talking about progressive Christianity. You’ll notice I don’t say liberal. That’s because there’s a difference between liberal Christianity and progressive Christianity. Liberal Christianity was a theological movement with roots in the 18th century and is basically a method of interpreting the Bible which grew out of the modern age. Progressive Christianity, like emerging/emergence Christianity is distinctly postmodern. There is plenty to read about the subject available, but some of the best (jn my opinion) comes from the Reverend Roger Wolsey, a United Methodist pastor, director of the Wesley Foundation at C. U. Boulder and author of Kissing Fish: Christianity for People who don’t like Christianity. If you want an in-depth look at what progressive Christianity is, you won’t do better than this book. But, it’s big and deep and we’re looking for an overview here, not an in-depth treatise. So, here’s my description:
Progressive Christianity is about how you live (orthopraxy), not what you believe (orthodoxy). It’s open to questions an doubt. It’s concerned with social and economic justice, stewardship of the Earth, a concern for right here and right now instead of trying to get to heaven. It rejects of the idea that alternative sexual orientation equals sin, values people over doctrine or dogma, doesn’t see one gender as superior to another and takes the Bible seriously but not literally. Most importantly, progressive Christianity is about compassion and community.
Progressive Christianity is about tolerance. Don’t agree with some (or all) of the things listed above? That’s cool, everyone finds their own way to God. Want to mix and match? You can do that, too. Just don’t be a dick about it.
So, that’s progressive Christianity in 600 words or less. Tomorrow, we tackle the emerging church and emergence Christianity. Same bat time, same bat channel.