Jump to content

Progressive Christianity - What's In A Name?


AnnieG
 Share

Recommended Posts

To me (and of course many others), 'Progressive Christianity' really represents progress, ie something better. So why I am hesitant to embrace the name? Given that religious beliefs span a huge spectrum, I feel calling myself ‘progressive’ has a touch of arrogance. Other movements of change such as ‘reformed’ and ‘protestant’ don’t contain that hint of ‘our beliefs are better than yours’ stemming from the base word ‘progress’. This hint seems particularly unfortunate given the welcome respectfulness of PC towards other viewpoints.

 

I’ve recently become aware of the terms /descriptions ‘emerging’ and ‘evolving’ Christianity. I feel more comfortable with these.

 

Can anyone fill me in on the background to the term ‘Progressive Christianity’? Any other thoughts on this label?

Edited by AnnieG
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annie,

 

I cannot help with the background of the 'progressive' term. However, I don't get any connotation of arrogance in the word. To me, 'progressive' contrasts with 'traditional' and suggests willingness to change.

 

An alternative might be 'liberal' but that, at least in the U.S., has become maligned politically such that almost all politicians on the left run from it. When applied to religion, it might also carry some of the same baggage.

 

Responding to the title of the thread. I do think that names are useful. Although a name cannot say everything, it does give a sense of what the organization or movement is about.

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Annie,

 

Names and labels seem to me to rarely have the exact same meaning to all people. I think people are to complicated to use a series of consonants and vowels in a word to accurately describe them. It seems to me that "the terms /descriptions ‘emerging’ and ‘evolving’ Christianity" are fine if that is what you are comfortable with. I see no arrogance in any of those two or the word Progressive. HERE IS A THREAD that members have indicated what Progressive Christianity means to them. Perhaps from reading you can get a clearer picture and make your own judgement on whether their response seems arrogant or not . Good to hear from you again.

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certainly there may be some progressive Christians with a holier than thou attitude, but you find those attitudes in all political and religious movements, so I don't think it's anything unique to this label. For me, the label progressive Christian is describing a form of Christianity that's not bound by dogma and tradition and is open to change and looking to the future. An example of this would be on issues like homosexuality where progressive Christians don't see using the bible as justifiable for discriminating against gays and are open to supporting gay rights that traditional Christians would be opposed to in the name of tradition. As an alternative label, I personally like the label of Christian humanism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments.

 

This quote from the wikipedia article on PC seems somewhat in agreement with my concern. Mind you, I totally disagree with the second sentence!

 

"The name "Progressive Christianity" is seen by some[who?] as a misnomer that it is also inflammatory, suggesting that those who hold a more traditional view are not forward looking. They would hold that Progressive Christianity would be more accurately labelled as "regressive", as they perceive it as seeking to bypass the cross."

 

*George mentioned the liberal political movement. Maybe the choice of 'Progressive' was loosely related to shared sympathies with the progressive social/political movement in the US (a movement I don't know much about.)

 

*Dutch, thanks for the link above - 'convergence' sounds interesting This forum seems to show that denominational lines, and also church-goer / non-church goer status, needn't interfere with meaningful dialogue and don't prevent us from finding a lot of common ground.

 

*Christian humanism (thanks, NeonGenesis) is also a term I like for its inclusivity.

 

*Joseph, I enjoyed looking through that thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think "Progressive" is a great choice, personally. I think it's a word that's clear enough in meaning not to be confusing or misleading to people. When you use the word "progressive," people get an idea of what you're talking about.

 

"Progressive" to me doesn't mean finished; we haven't completed our journey yet. It just means we're on the way - looking ahead, asking questions. Open hearts and open minds; open doors, too.

 

I don't think there's anything arrogant about "progressive" unless a person goes out of their way to spin it like that. The word "traditional" could also have a hue of arrogance to it, depending how you use it. Liberal, humanist ... it's all in the way its applied.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my (mild) resistance to the name 'PC', I know part of the issue for me is my difficulty in standing up for what I believe when I know others strongly disagree. As has been said elsewhere on the forum, it pays to pick your battles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service