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A Great Web Article On Progressive Christianity


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I just found an article by a progressive Christian pastor in Australia which is quite illuminating > http://www.rexaehuntprogressive.com/articl...gressiveXianity

 

Here are some excerpts:

 

"Three books from the many published, have almost become a manifesto for progressive christianity: Marcus Borg's The heart of christianity, Jack Spong's Why christianity must change or die, and Matthew Fox's Original blessings. While a DVD collection of studies under the title 'Living the questions' is now seen as a liberal/progressive alternative to the evangelical/fundamentalist material available. All these emphasise intellectual and religious/spiritual integrity."

 

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Marcus Borg (Borg 2000) suggests five ways of re-visioning the Bible. By 'seeing it again' as:

(i) a human product

- the product of two ancient communities

(ii) a combination of historical memory and metaphorical narratives

- some events really happened

- some, no particular event lies behind them

(iii) stories about the divine-human relationship

(iv) in a state of post-critical naiveté

- hear the stories once again as 'true' even though not 'factually true'

(v) as lens and sacrament

- a way of seeing rather than an object of belief

- in its function not its origin

 

 

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"In a relatively new book by Hal Taussig called A new spiritual home. Progressive christianity at the grassroots, Taussig lists five characteristics of progressive christianity:

1. A spiritual vitality and expressiveness

2. An insistence on christianity with intellectual integrity

3. A transgression of traditional gender boundaries

4. The belief that christianity can be vital without claiming to be the best or the only true religion

5. Strong ecological and social justice commitments"

 

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"God is not a supernatural being outside of the world/creation/universe. Neither is the word G-o-d the proper name of a supernatural being. It is a metaphor used to address the sacred in life, often, but not exclusively, using anthropocentric language."

 

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"From early days there was not one unified group or vision called 'christianity'. There were several. Separate, often not knowing of others existence. And when these different visions met, it was often a clash! For instance, the clashes between Paul and Peter over the very nature of what it means to be 'christian', continued to rage in one form or another, from group to group, for nearly 300 years."

 

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"Marcus Borg (Borg 2000) suggests five ways of re-visioning the Bible. By 'seeing it again' as:

(i) a human product

- the product of two ancient communities

(ii) a combination of historical memory and metaphorical narratives

- some events really happened

- some, no particular event lies behind them

(iii) stories about the divine-human relationship

(iv) in a state of post-critical naiveté

- hear the stories once again as 'true' even though not 'factually true'

(v) as lens and sacrament

- a way of seeing rather than an object of belief

- in its function not its origin"

 

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"For progressives prayer could be described as the 'language of the heart'. Not just in some interior realm. And certainly not is some oral heavenly escape. But as an invitation to sense the connectedness of the whole of life - and the "in-between-ness of God" (Taussig 1999:131) - the "always present God" rather than "an elsewhere God" (Morwood 2003:8)."

 

 

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There is plenty more in this article to illuminate and provoke discussion. Go to > http://www.rexaehuntprogressive.com/articl...gressiveXianity

 

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Mystictrek, good to hear from you, you are a wise man. I absolutely could not get on your recomened site for that article, no matter which way I tried. I will try it again tomorrow.

 

I am in the middle of "Jesus, Discovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary" Borg's latest creation. So far it is dynamite!

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Gee Jim...you think someone is playing with the wiring up there amongst you "youpers" (sp?)

 

Nahhhh ! Couldn't ever happen in the good ole' US of A huh? Eat another pastie, drink another coldie, watch the sports channels, and fahgeddaboutit !

 

Great info MT. :)

 

flow.... ;)

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I have thought the biggest difference between liberal/progressive Christianity and evangelical/fundamentalist/conservative/traditional Christianity is how one views the Bible. Then there are other things that are about as dualistic within liberal religion. Liberals can split over finding mysticism essential, which I do, not to being a Christian, but to being me, vs. a faith which is utterly rational.

 

Then there are these other things. I don't care how many theologians decide that God can only be a metaphor of creativity, that God cannot be a person. There is no human being who can be an authority on this issue, unless a personal God revealed that to him or her, so that's not a meaningful exception. Not all of us define "God" as Creator. Science has yet to show a need for a Creator, yet one can speak in a semiscientific way about the God-shaped void in our brain made up of our needs for power, knowledge, love, and goodness, a place where it makes much more sense to call God Helper than Creator. My favorite definition of "God" is that God is the one who answers when I pray, "God help me!" Some see God as above that, that God is not a bellboy. I don't see Him as a bellboy. I see Him/Her as the other end of a loving relationship that I've experienced for almost 20 years. Exactly what the reality of that is I don't know, but it seems to me that some progressives would deny me the right to my experience being real, as if they understand it better than I do.

 

That's the sort of thing where a deep divide forms between different people's worldviews, even though we're all liberal/progressive and all believe in some tolerance of other faiths and freedom for any individual to pursue his or her spiritual way, as there is no authority to say, "This way is best." I know my way, my God, both in the present and through my personal history of exploring this. How is it progressive to make statements that exclude that I actually know anything?

 

Another divide is about physical miracles. I don't think there are any. I used to be less sure, given all those who do believe in physical miracles, but my experience about this is all one way. I've prayed to God a lot. I may even have prayed something close to, "I want a pony," at some point. Such a prayer doesn't work, yet when I've prayed for God's direction, strength, comfort, and hope, that's what I get, mental miracles, better in the present than in the past. One has to get used to who and what God really is, not the traditional God who goes "poof". That's a lot of prayer for someone else to say there's nothing on the other end of that, that whatever love God has for me is some metaphor about the universe, that I'm actually either all alone in my faith or deluded to think I am separate from all these people who insist that God is everything and everyone. That is not what God says to me.

 

As a mystic who doesn't believe in physical miracles, I am necessarily a dualist. I have to believe in a spiritual side to reality to explain mystical experiences, because the physical side of reality doesn't support mystical experiences in my view. I understand that non-dualists see it differently. I wish they had a way of writing about it that makes sense to me. Non-dualists can write their beliefs without equivocation if they want, but to do so insures a continuing duality between us.

 

I don't mind anyone believing the opposite of what I believe on various points. I have reasons for everything I believe. I'm not so mystical as to not need reasons, but those reasons aren't perfect. God is whoever and whatever God is, not what any human says He is, including me. I don't understand how people ignore that and say that being a progressive Christian is what they say it is. It doesn't seem that way to me.

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David I like what you wrote about personal belief because it rings true, but can't we live as one. I would say duality is in unity and accept your counter of unity in duality. God bless you. Soma

Edited by soma
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As a mystic who doesn't believe in physical miracles, I am necessarily a dualist. I have to believe in a spiritual side to reality to explain mystical experiences, because the physical side of reality doesn't support mystical experiences in my view. I understand that non-dualists see it differently. I wish they had a way of writing about it that makes sense to me. Non-dualists can write their beliefs without equivocation if they want, but to do so insures a continuing duality between us.

 

I don't mind anyone believing the opposite of what I believe on various points. I have reasons for everything I believe. I'm not so mystical as to not need reasons, but those reasons aren't perfect. God is whoever and whatever God is, not what any human says He is, including me. I don't understand how people ignore that and say that being a progressive Christian is what they say it is. It doesn't seem that way to me.

 

I have tentatively concluded that our material existence is something like existence in the holodeck on the Starship Enterprize in Star Trek. We live in a realm where we have temprarily lost contact with the bridge and it can even seem like we will never regain contact and that we can't ever get out of the holodeck.

 

We have so much more to learn it seems to me about mind and energy and all that stuff.

 

So, I read a little Zen every day and I try to stop my inner dialogue and see what happens. I at least have a little experiential evidence that we are intimately, intricately and infinitely connected to everything by God's unconditional, unlimited and uniting love in a mysterious, miraculous and marvellous way.

 

I can see clearly now ... nothing but blue sky ... it's a bright, bright, sunshiny day.

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