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Examining The 8 Points


BeachOfEden
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Let us examine The 8 Points of Christianity...

 

The 8 Points

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By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who:

 

 

1. Proclaim Jesus Christ as our Gate to the realm of God

 

I see this as focusing on Jesus as the gateway to God instead of claiming WE have the copy rights to God.

 

2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the gateway to God's realm.

 

Now, here is a good example when a Progressive challenge is made. As a Progressive Christian I have no problem with others who may call God Great Spirit or Brhama (Hindu)..or say a Hare Krishna calls Christ Krishna..Now, as a conservative Christian would they be able to say the same?

 

3. Understand our sharing of bread and wine in Jesus's name to be a representation of God's feast for all peoples

 

Ok..what about the conservative Catholic who may view that only devote catholics should partake in this?

 

4. Invite all sorts and conditions of people to join in our worship and in our common life as full partners, including (but not limited to):

 

believers and agnostics,

 

Would a conservative view us Progressives as even "believers"? Could they tolerate agnostics?

 

conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,

 

define the word "conventional". What does it mean?

 

Progressive Christianity allows and even encourage all to question..can they same be said of Conservative Christians? Can you question Bush without being called UnAmerican? Can you follow other paths along with Christianity like New thought or Native American or Bahia or UU without being called a cult? Can you question the doctrine of the trinity withOUT being called UnChristian?

 

 

homosexuals and heterosexuals,

 

Can conservative christians tolerate gays being present withOUT lecturing them on 'their' interpretations on the Bible and homosexuality?

 

females and males,

 

Can conservative Christians stand the fact that Progressives allow women to serve equally as pastors..Can they AVOID spouting sexist interpretations of the Bible here?

 

the despairing and the hopeful,

those of all races and cultures, and

those of all classes and abilities,

 

without imposing on them the necessity of becoming like us;

 

"Can conservative Christians AVOID telling others how 'they' believe they can get to heaven or avoid hell? and telling others that their views are "Unorthodox"?

 

5. Think that the way we treat one another and other people is more important than the way we express our beliefs;

 

Can this point here, #5 EVER be agreed by a conservative Christian???

 

6. Find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions than in the answers;

 

 

And the very same question for this point, #6?

 

7. See ourselves as a spiritual community in which we discover the resources required for our work in the world: striving for justice and peace among all people; bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers;

 

8. Recognize that our faith entails costly discipleship, renunciation of privilege, and conscientious resistance to evil--as has always been the tradition of the church.

 

These are the basics of this site's vision. Again, the 'basics.' The question is: CAN conservatives honor each and every one of these 8 points?

 

PS. Another issue to examine. Fundamental Christianities and fundamental religions are based on Exclusiveness..while Progressive christianity is based on the opposite. However, many here have sugested extending Inclusiveness towards those who are ANTI-inclusive..So how would this work? How to do innerfaith with those who do not wish to inneract with you...unless...to simply debate with you and try and force you into agreeing with them? How would this be productive at all? To be Inclusive towards those who are Exclusive?

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A while back I think someone had brought up the 8pts of TCPC. Back then I mentioned that I do not see the 8pts as a subscriptionist list, but rather see them as being more symbolic. That means that some people here may emphasize some of them over others, and indeed some people may disagree with some of them, while agreeing with the rest. From my understanding, the spirit of the 8pts is far more important than the letter. And something that is distincly interwovent through them seems to be a renunciation of a subscriptionist approach to Christianity.

 

I do not believe that it is helpful to renounce literalist readings of the Bible (or any other creed or confesssion) through a literalist approach of the 8pts. In the end, it is literalism that wins. (In fact, I generally argue that the key to understanding the shift to a progressive Christianity is found in abandoning the literalist lens in favor of a metaphoric one.)

 

If we accept a rigid interpretive grid regarding who does and who doesn't get voice in this community, then we close the door to growth. I know that my beliefes change through time and circumstances, and I assume that others do as well. Christianity has evolved through time. Christianity will continue to evolve. That means that progressive Christianity needs to have open ends: open in the front to allow for a greater sense of belonging and acceptance, and open at the ends to promote greater spiritual growth.

 

Moreover, we must never confuse ourselves with God. Just because we have a theological perspective that unites us, we must be careful not to fall into the tribalistic mentality that assumes that we are "right" by declaring an end to dialogue.

 

Therefore, my understanding of the vision of TCPC is that we are trying to form an enlivening community of creative exploration that promotes quality relationships grounded in human respect and openness, rather than a community grounded in a checklist of common beliefs.

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‘Progressive Christianity allows and even encourage all to question..can they same be said of Conservative Christians? Can you question Bush without being called UnAmerican? Can you follow other paths along with Christianity like New thought or Native American or Bahia or UU without being called a cult? Can you question the doctrine of the trinity withOUT being called UnChristian?’

 

You certainly can. I would consider myself to be rather conservative when it comes to my politics, but more progressive with my faith. If this is possible for me, it must be possible for others. In that way, it is possible that someone who is a progressive voted for Bush and someone who is a conservative, did not. (I did not)

 

It is also possible for conservative Christians to study and find meaning in other faiths. I happen to enjoy reading Jewish writing on theology and philosophy. I have found it very helpful to read books and articles from Buddhist and Hindus. But I wouldn’t say all faiths are equal or that all should be considered true or even good. Does this make me a ‘conservative’ when it comes to faith. Maybe it does, but I like that.

 

I also know that many conservative and fundamentalist faith communities or organizations do allow women to be full members of the community and even to lead in some. The Salvation Army is an example of this. They are, for the most part, either fundamentalist or very conservative, yet they have women officers and even women have been international leaders. And lets not forget the Foursquare Gospel groups. They were founded by a woman and still have women who are leaders and pastors.

 

Certainly these are only anecdotal cases, but they do shed light on the fact that even conservatives can be open to differing views. We can too.

 

I consider myself to be a progressive, as I mentioned before, but I differ greatly in my views on faith and politics with many who post on the boards. This is because I am a human and I think I am right. It would not be possible for me to live my life thinking that I was wrong or that I had no idea of anything to do with God or my faith. I might learn new things and change some old views, but I will always think that what I think is the best or at least near the top.

I don’t find this to be offensive or even wrong, because I am right (in my mind). But really, think of Borg or Spong or Armstrong or Adams; I wonder how many of them feel that they are wrong or that they don’t get it. They might say they are searching, which we probably all are, but at some level they must feel that they have some grasp on what is going on. Why should this be wrong?

 

Finally, I agree that fundamentalist Christians are using their faith to be exclusive, but aren’t we doing the same if we require others to adhere to our 8 points. Like XianAnarchist said, this is more about being a community with a common idea, not one that uses a ‘checklist of common beliefs.’ I said it before, and I will say it again, don’t turn the 8 points, a list of common beliefs or guides, into a creed that must be adhered to at the exclusion of those who might not understand it just yet.

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By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who:

 

 

1. Proclaim Jesus Christ as our Gate to the realm of God

 

I see this as focusing on Jesus as the gateway to God instead of claiming WE have the copy rights to God.

 

2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the gateway to God's realm.

 

Now, here is a good example when a Progressive challenge is made. As a Progressive Christian I have no problem with others who may call God Great Spirit or Brhama (Hindu)..or say a Hare Krishna calls Christ Krishna..Now, as a conservative Christian would they be able to say the same?

 

But Beach, this is a statement on Progressive Christianiy. Conservatives, almost by definition, do not accept all paths are equivalent. (In fact, I wouldn't exactly say ALL paths are equivalent. I don't, for ex., think handling snakes is totally appropriate...)

 

 

>PS. Another issue to examine. Fundamental Christianities and fundamental religions are based on Exclusiveness..while Progressive christianity is based on the opposite. However, many here have sugested extending Inclusiveness towards those who are ANTI-inclusive..So how would this work? How to do innerfaith with those who do not wish to inneract with you...unless...to simply debate with you and try and force you into agreeing with them? How would this be productive at all? To be Inclusive towards those who are Exclusive?

 

 

I think it is the ultimate of ironies, Beach. It is roughly analogous to the question, "Why can we as Americans tolerate in our midst people who are communists, facists, etc. Why don't we track them, lock them up, etc etc. They are against everything we believe in." Yet we know that our country has and does (maybe a bit less so after 9/11).

 

But don't you see, the very fact that we believe as we do REQUIRES that we accept in our midst those who don't. I don't think we need to put up with abuse in this. But who told you acceptance is EASY-- it isn't easy. It's supposed to be hard.

 

 

--des

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Another different thing. This 8 points. It's not a requirement or sign in point. I didn't sign a internet pledge sheet saying "yes I support the 8 points". I basically said, sounds interesting, I'm coming in to discusss all this. We don't know why people will come in. They might agree with everything; they might think most points are good; they might think we are a bunch o wackos or heathens.

 

If you want something that requires that, go to yahoo or beliefnet and say "I want to start a fundie free support group or something". I actually am in a hidden group in yahoo, we have initials and you can't find it thru a search (or it would be very difficult). You can moderate it and read the posts a head of time.

 

But I don't think that's what this was ever designed to be.

 

 

--des

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I really am challenged by #5 "We know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe" It seems to me that if we can keep this in mind in our modeling, actions and treatment toward those on the religious right we have an opportunity to continue to grow both spiritually and in numbers. In fact for me, to do that is a lot of what it means in finding that being a follower of Jesus is costly and entails selfless love and conscientious resistance to evil.

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