What this is…
This is my experience with those who self identify as progressive Christians, churches who identify as progressive and the UMCM which I have come to believe is little more than progressive Christianity lite. (sort of like skim milk really). This does not include all people I have spoken to who subscribe to this way of thinking, simply the majority.
The 8 points of progressive Christianity can be found here. Here we go…
1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
This actually sounds pretty good. I can live with the oneness as in we are all in this thing called life together and unity as in we require each other to survive. I have some issues with putting all life on an equal level as I think that the Scriptures are fairly clear that humans are unique in creation, but I can get past it and not be so nit picky. This sounds ok really.
2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
Hmmm…..I can almost go with this. I have reservations and concerns, but I can almost go with this. I can get behind the idea that there is wisdom we can glean from most anything, but for me those sources of wisdom are not outside of Christ, but are instead confirmed by the teachings of Christ as revealed through the Scriptures. So yeah I can find wisdom outside of Jesus, but if it can not be confirmed by the teachings of Christ, it may indeed be wisdom, but it may be the wisdom of this world. Scripture has some unfriendly things to say about that. I am starting to worry about this sacredness and oneness stuff now…sounding more like a mantra or chant that does not really have definition. I thought I knew what it meant in point 1 but I am wondering now.
3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
Believers and agnostics,
Women and men,
Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
Those of all classes and abilities;
Now see this sounds good, but I don’t think you mean it. Wait, that is not fair, it has been my experience that you do not mean it. You say that you want a community that is inclusive of conventional Christians, but then call them bigoted, backward, etc. You try to break away from conservative elements in the world wide church that you don’t agree with so that you can get your way. It looks racial. It may not be, but it certainly appears so. It certainly does not seek a community that is inclusive of conventional Christians, rather quite the opposite. It seeks to move away from conventional Christians. It doesn’t seem like sacredness or oneness (whatever that actually is. It’s becoming more and more muddied with each point).
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
See now you have lost me. If I am to believe you, then the fullest expression of what you believe is that when you don’t get your way, you try to isolate and insult those who do not agree. When “oneness” doesn’t work, you just cut away, or seek to cut away, those parts taht do not conform. The inclusiveness that you seek is only for those who agree with you, but can never be for those who may disagree. Us conventional Christians simply must have our voices stripped away so that your voice is the only one heard. You can dress it up however you wish, say it is for the sake of unity, say it is financial responsibility (yes UMCM I am talking to you as you fit the mold too), say whatever you like. It is at best the basic kindergarten logic of I am taking my ball and going home and at worst is an attempt to be politely racist and discriminatory toward the poor and marginalized…you know those people you say that you are trying to have an inclusive environment toward. Perhaps this is what you mean by sacred oneness? There are four more points, but this is the one where you are killing me. If you believe this point, then, for all the many ways you think you can find your sacred oneness, you really just need Jesus because you missed the boat on a lot of what He said. To be continued…