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The Future Of Pc?


BillM
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One of the things I appreciate about Progressive Christianity is its willingness to embrace change. Of course, this also makes it rather hard to define PC. ;)

 

But if you could speculate as to what Progressive Christianity might look like in 100 years, what do you think would be different about it? What might be the same? What "improvements" do you think might need to be made? What things might need to be let go as obsolete or irrelevant?

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sbnr1,

 

I thought it might be interesting to first share the definition of PC and its difference from traditional Christianity from Wikipedia.

Definition

Progressive Christianity is the name given to a movement within contemporary Christianity characterized by willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity with a strong emphasis on social justice or care for the poor and the oppressed (see Minority groups) and environmental stewardship of the Earth. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to "love one another" (John 15:17) within the teaching of Jesus Christ. This leads to a focus on compassion, promoting justice and mercy, tolerance, and working towards solving the societal problems of poverty, discrimination, and environmental issues. They stress Collective Salvation as a requirement toward salvation of society.

 

Differences between Progressive Christianity and traditional Christianity

 

Holding to the ideals of Progressive Christianity sets the movement apart from other forms of traditional Christianity. Many, if not most, Progressive Christians believe that the Bible is not the literal word of God. While all Progressive Christians recognize Jesus Christ, some view him not as the only way to God, but one of many ways, continuing the Christian modernist paradigm. Inclusiveness and acceptance is the basic posture of Progressive Christianity.

Progressive Christians tend to focus on issues of social justice, rather than proselytizing efforts to convert others, as conservatives and mainstream Evangelicals tend to emphasize.

 

As far as your questions...

But if you could speculate as to what Progressive Christianity might look like in 100 years, what do you think would be different about it? What might be the same? What "improvements" do you think might need to be made? What things might need to be let go as obsolete or irrelevant?

 

To me the future is now. Personally i am hesitant to speculate on what PC might look like in 100 years or even if it will still be around or known by the same name. Of course, I believe there will be personal growth continuing for many and that to me is always an improvement. Though i have always been goal oriented, somehow i believe it is best that we allow PC to find its own direction rather than trying to form it into a mold or our own vision. The message "to love one another" has the essence behind it of a life of its own. I believe it will direct each of us on an individual basis to let go of the things we need to let go of and procure those things that will propel us on to that which is the fruit of such a message.

 

Speaking for myself,

Joseph

 

 

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To me the future is now. Personally i am hesitant to speculate on what PC might look like in 100 years or even if it will still be around or known by the same name. Of course, I believe there will be personal growth continuing for many and that to me is always an improvement. Though i have always been goal oriented, somehow i believe it is best that we allow PC to find its own direction rather than trying to form it into a mold or our own vision. The message "to love one another" has the essence behind it of a life of its own. I believe it will direct each of us on an individual basis to let go of the things we need to let go of and procure those things that will propel us on to that which is the fruit of such a message.

 

I appreciate your personal thoughts on this, Joseph. One of the reasons I am drawn to and keep coming back to what is called progressive Christianity is that it seems to have built into it the…(searching for the right word and coming up short)…attitude/paradigm/worldview of progressing forward while carrying with it some meaningful things of the past. And it also seems to foster an awareness and response to the present.

 

Some forms of Christianity, as you know, claim to seek to preserve or conserve the past. For them, the “best days” of Christianity or even humanity are in the past – in the Garden of Eden, in the days of Solomon’s Temple, in Jesus’ day, in the days of the early church, in the days of the Church Fathers, or in the days of the Reformers and those of the Great Awakening. Their focus is on reclaiming or reinstating the past, as if everything since the “good ol’ days” has been a downhill slide into apostasy or sin. Many of these forms of Christianity are “futurists,” believing that no real human progress or perfection can be attained until Jesus returns, usually coupled with some kind of destruction of this world.

 

In contrast, from what I’ve read of progressive authors (I can’t find a progressive church), progressive Christianity seems to be more “incarnational,” positing that Christ is “in us” and working through us, not to divide the world’s people and destroy it, but to unite us and lead us into a better future. This doesn’t negate any futurist views, of course, it just implies, at least to me, that God is behind human progress rather than opposed to it.

 

So I’d agree with you that PC does not need to chart a course, so-to-speak. We can trust God and trust each other while, as you’ve said, using the message and actions of “love one another” to help us both create and steer into the future. Perhaps if we can truly learn to “love one another” today, the future will take care of itself?

 

To Soma: :P I don't think I'll live that long, but I sure wouldn't want people to know most thoughts running through my head. Either I or they would need a blocking filter. ;)

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It seems to me that the future of Progressive Christianity is not written.

 

The US (and the West more generally) is possibly moving into a postsecular era. I situate PC within that context as it seems to me that PC is an intervention into the civil discourse regarding Christianity and its association with politics (must it be associated with conservative social politics?) and science (must religion conflict with science, and if so, must one always side with religion?). PC seems to be advocating specific answers (or a set of possible answers) to those questions, and depending on how various political & civic debates play out, its future role could be range from continuing to "fight the good fight" to becoming marginalized because it lost the debate (an unfortunate possibility), or it could win by some definition at which point it would either re-invent itself or disappear.

 

Good topic.

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But if you could speculate as to what Progressive Christianity might look like in 100 years, what do you think would be different about it? What might be the same? What "improvements" do you think might need to be made? What things might need to be let go as obsolete or irrelevant?

 

I don't think it is possible to make such a projection. Since religion is a human universal, it would be reasonable to expect that there will be religious belief and practice in a hundred years. Religion has existed in every human society and attested tens of thousands of years ago. In fact, religion persisted under cover even when banned in the USSR and Red China.

 

However, predicting the nature of religion and society in the future is another matter. Given the recent (last 25 years or so) reemergence of fundamentalism around the world, including the U.S., I don't think it would be prudent to project a kinder and gentler form of Christianity. It may be that progressive religion is one step on the way to secularism so that what might be left would just be conservative forms of religion.

 

George

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