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what is progressive Christianity?


FireDragon76
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I consider myself a "progressive Christian".   I am an Evangelical Lutheran and I support the full inclusion of gays in the life of the Church, and I also do not believe being politically "pro-life" is a litmus test for Christian discipleship (in this respect, I'm very much in line with my denomination's own social statements).  But beyond that, I am very much a traditional, creedal sort of Christian, as are most Lutherans I know. 

So in one sense, I do see myself as a progressive Christian relative to American evangelicalism with its moralism, biblicism, and politicization of religion, but on the other hand, I am not a progressive Christian by the standards of this site- of espousing theological liberalism.  Yet I think there are far more folks like me out there in churches than there are Christians who are essentially wedded to theological liberalism.

So what really is "progressive Christianity"?

Edited by FireDragon76
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6 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

I consider myself a "progressive Christian".   I am an Evangelical Lutheran and I support the full inclusion of gays in the life of the Church, and I also do not believe being politically "pro-life" is a litmus test for Christian discipleship (in this respect, I'm very much in line with my denomination's own social statements).  But beyond that, I am very much a traditional, creedal sort of Christian, as are most Lutherans I know. 

So in one sense, I do see myself as a progressive Christian relative to American evangelicalism with its moralism, biblicism, and politicization of religion, but on the other hand, I am not a progressive Christian by the standards of this site- of espousing theological liberalism.  Yet I think there are far more folks like me out there in churches than there are Christians who are essentially wedded to theological liberalism.

So what really is "progressive Christianity"?

Good to see you back!  In my mind the only way the term 'progressive' Chistianity works is in the sense of progressive revelation.  Dispensationists were kinda right, but too linear and concrete/comprehensive in their progressivism.

Romans 1 makes a major theological point in that we are expected to discern the will of God by observing natural law, and the widest observation I can make is that God moves everything in the direction of increasing variety and complexity. 

I think progressive revelation is the keystone to progressive Christianity.  The PC organization can be better described as isogetical, and a case of self-will run riot.

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10 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

I consider myself a "progressive Christian".   I am an Evangelical Lutheran and I support the full inclusion of gays in the life of the Church, and I also do not believe being politically "pro-life" is a litmus test for Christian discipleship (in this respect, I'm very much in line with my denomination's own social statements).  But beyond that, I am very much a traditional, creedal sort of Christian, as are most Lutherans I know. 

So in one sense, I do see myself as a progressive Christian relative to American evangelicalism with its moralism, biblicism, and politicization of religion, but on the other hand, I am not a progressive Christian by the standards of this site- of espousing theological liberalism.  Yet I think there are far more folks like me out there in churches than there are Christians who are essentially wedded to theological liberalism.

So what really is "progressive Christianity"?

Examples of theological liberalism?

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22 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

So what really is "progressive Christianity"?

I regard progressive Christianity as a broad brush applied to people who no longer find doctrinal 'absolutes' as speaking truth in our modern world.  Christianity is changing as it always has, and as we move into a new age many Christians question 'traditional' teachings and weigh them up against other experiences in the world.   It's about questioning what was written thousands of years ago and what such actually means today to our modern society.  Some people are comfortable trusting that what was written way back when is entirely 'accurate' today, but many don't feel this way and I think that's where progressive Christianity started from.

I think sites like the main site to this forum try to outline what PC is, but I don't think the intention is to lock down the definition and say "this is what PC has to be".  Not having concrete borders can be difficult for some.  Many people like hard and fast labels.  I don't think PC is trying to define itself specifically.

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6 hours ago, PaulS said:

I regard progressive Christianity as a broad brush applied to people who no longer find doctrinal 'absolutes' as speaking truth in our modern world.  Christianity is changing as it always has, and as we move into a new age many Christians question 'traditional' teachings and weigh them up against other experiences in the world.   It's about questioning what was written thousands of years ago and what such actually means today to our modern society.  Some people are comfortable trusting that what was written way back when is entirely 'accurate' today, but many don't feel this way and I think that's where progressive Christianity started from.

I think sites like the main site to this forum try to outline what PC is, but I don't think the intention is to lock down the definition and say "this is what PC has to be".  Not having concrete borders can be difficult for some.  Many people like hard and fast labels.  I don't think PC is trying to define itself specifically.

Difference between PC and pC.  With an estimated 45k sects and denominations, whatever you think about Christianity someone somewhere has already founded a church based on those ideas.

The official PC is a publishing house for mainstream liberal churches, but compared to the Unitarian Universalist denomination PC's are bible thumpers.

 

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46 minutes ago, thormas said:

So the Unitarians are pC even mores than PC?

I think so.  Unitarians are closer to the Frisbee-terians.  Their faith spends a lot of time flying over the fences of other religions and philosophies.  

I think many members (past & present) of this forum would feel very much at home in a UU congregation.

 

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24 minutes ago, thormas said:

I like it Burl - sounds great!

Stole that one from George Carlin.  Frisbeeterians: we believe when you die your soul flies up on a roof and you can't get it down.

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7 hours ago, Burl said:

I think many members (past & present) of this forum would feel very much at home in a UU congregation.

 

Indeed, there are many similarities, probably the strongest being the inclusiveness of both for all peoples regardless of gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, or even religious beliefs for that matter.  Probably the most striking similarity is recognition that nobody has a monopoly on God and that God means all sorts of different things to different people.

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Indeed, there are many similarities, probably the strongest being the inclusiveness of both for all peoples regardless of gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, or even religious beliefs for that matter.  Probably the most striking similarity is recognition that nobody has a monopoly on God and that God means all sorts of different things to different people.

No one has a monopoly on god.  God has a monopoly on us.

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7 hours ago, Burl said:

No one has a monopoly on god.  God has a monopoly on us.

Although it appears that some 'views' speak more powerfully when "weigh(ed) up against (our) other experiences in the world."  This seems to be evident given the comments of a number on this site concerning their traditional theistic unbringing.

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8 hours ago, Burl said:

No one has a monopoly on god.  God has a monopoly on us.

No one has a monopoly on the universe either. I don't even have a monopoly on my back yard.

But the universe does shape us.

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  • 2 months later...
On 5/13/2019 at 2:25 PM, Burl said:

I think so.  Unitarians are closer to the Frisbee-terians.  Their faith spends a lot of time flying over the fences of other religions and philosophies.  

I think many members (past & present) of this forum would feel very much at home in a UU congregation.

 

I think that's true.  Progressive Christians would be many Episcopalians or the UCC.  They reinterpret some things in Christianity, they might emphasize creedal belief less, but they still value Christian identity and traditions, even if they understand them very differently from fundamentalists.

 

Whereas Unitarians really have no shared beliefs and few shared religious practices (many of them are not Christians), only shared values.  They value intellectual inquiry primarily, individualism, and western humanism - not very different from the old ethical societies in the 19th century. 

 

They are really different, only similar in their liberalism/modernism.

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On 5/14/2019 at 5:19 PM, romansh said:

No one has a monopoly on the universe either. I don't even have a monopoly on my back yard.

But the universe does shape us.

I always dislike this sort of (mis)use of religious language.   Usually, we associate such verbs with acts of will.  Which makes the term "God" much more appropriate.

 

But I think that just shows how Burl's observation is accurate.  Most people here would probably be much happier in a Unitarian Universalist church where people can be happy pantheists asking speculative questions for the rest of their lives.  Christianity has always been about believing in and following Jesus, even if the exact way that belief and discipleship unfolds look different in different time periods and levels of understanding.

 

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2 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

But I think that just shows how Burl's observation is accurate.  Most people here would probably be much happier in a Unitarian Universalist church where people can be happy pantheists asking speculative questions for the rest of their lives.  

Where do you think Burl was saying people would be much happier to be away from, if you think he meant they would be 'much happier' in a UU Church?  I could be mistaken, but I got the sense he wasn't saying they should be 'there' instead of 'here', but rather was saying they would be comfortable in a UU Church because it has some similar values to Progressive Christianity and 'here'.

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On 7/19/2019 at 3:08 AM, PaulS said:

Where do you think Burl was saying people would be much happier to be away from, if you think he meant they would be 'much happier' in a UU Church?  I could be mistaken, but I got the sense he wasn't saying they should be 'there' instead of 'here', but rather was saying they would be comfortable in a UU Church because it has some similar values to Progressive Christianity and 'here'.

UU's and progressive Christians seem subtly different.  UU spirituality is much more individualistic... and doesn't pretend to be Christian.

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2 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

UU's and progressive Christians seem subtly different.  UU spirituality is much more individualistic... and doesn't pretend to be Christian.

I'm not sure if you are implying that people here are 'pretending' to be Christian, but I was asking you why you thought " ....most people here would probably be much happier in a Unitarian Universalist church".  If it is because they could enjoy more individualism there, rather than here, I am not sure I agree.  I'd like to think that Progressive Christianity is inclusive enough to allow people as much individualism as they desire.  Indeed, the PC 8-Points welcome's people of all walks ranging from 'Conventional Christians through to questioning skeptics and agnostics, and all sorts in between.  I don't think one has to 'pretend' to be a 'Christian' to walk in line with Progressive Christianity.


 

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48 minutes ago, PaulS said:

I'm not sure if you are implying that people here are 'pretending' to be Christian, but I was asking you why you thought " ....most people here would probably be much happier in a Unitarian Universalist church".  If it is because they could enjoy more individualism there, rather than here, I am not sure I agree.  I'd like to think that Progressive Christianity is inclusive enough to allow people as much individualism as they desire.  Indeed, the PC 8-Points welcome's people of all walks ranging from 'Conventional Christians through to questioning skeptics and agnostics, and all sorts in between.  I don't think one has to 'pretend' to be a 'Christian' to walk in line with Progressive Christianity.


 

Progressive Christianity still defines itself as Christian in some way, UU generally does not.  

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7 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

Progressive Christianity still defines itself as Christian in some way, UU generally does not.  

Agreed, but still not sure how you come to the conclusion that most people here would actually be happier in a UU congregation.  I think they both have things to offer.  Each to their own I guess.

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

Agreed, but still not sure how you come to the conclusion that most people here would actually be happier in a UU congregation.  I think they both have things to offer.  Each to their own I guess.

Well, when people are talking about "the universe" instead of God, that's generally how UU's talk.

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13 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

Well, when people are talking about "the universe" instead of God, that's generally how UU's talk.

It well may be, but I also think using that term is totally at home here also, within PC.  For me it's not that most people here would feel more at home in a UU congregation, but rather that a UU congregation offers many similarities to Progressive Christianity (which doesn't neatly fit into a strictly designated box of doctrines).

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23 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

You can be a Unitarian Universalist without giving a whit about Jesus, but it would be difficult to conceive of a "Christianity" without Jesus.

I don't disagree, but I still go to the heart of your comment about "Most people here would probably be much happier in a Unitarian Universalist church".  You haven't substantiated that for me in any way so far, but that's okay, you are entitled to your opinion.  I was just trying to get an idea of how you came to that conclusion.  Whilst I am getting an idea, I don't think it supports what you said.  Anyways.

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On 5/13/2019 at 9:26 AM, Burl said:

 

The official PC is a publishing house for mainstream liberal churches, but compared to the Unitarian Universalist denomination PC's are bible thumpers.

 

That's more or less been my experience as well. 

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