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My 7 "At Some Points" of Progressive Christianity

Points of Christianity
A few years ago I took a shot at articulating my evolving and progressing reasons for remaining a Christian (without it being focused around what I no longer believed).  As part of that process I crafted 7 "At Some Points" of Progressive Christianity, and found it harder than I thought it would be.  

Sure, it’s easy for conservative Christians to do, as they can just go to the majority of Christian churches in America and copy their belief statements, which are often derived verbatim from ancient creeds that were developed by the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon between the years 325 and 451 CE  –  or influenced by the fundamentalist movement of the 20th century. But most people reading this will know that much of the theology of those statements has become outdated or insufficient – which means that to the degree that keeping the label of Christianity is important (which I will address in Part 4 of this series) we need some new models of articulation. 


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Hey Governor Pence, Let Em Eat Cake!

I don't for a minute think there's anything wrong with being gay.  But if you are a Christian who does think there's something wrong with being gay, or even if you believe that Jesus was anti-gay, here's why I think Indiana's Religious Freedom Reform Act is the exact opposite of how Jesus would have handled things.


"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew got up and followed him.


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The Problem of American Individualized Christian Society

repentant church
This is a post that was written by my friend Tim Hawks-Malczynski from All Saints Church in Pasadena 

(If you have never listened to any of All Saint's Rector Ed Bacon's progressive sermons I really encourage you to check them out)



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by Tim Hawks-Malczynski




This Lent I've been thinking about mortality and the dark side not only in my personal life but also in our shared social, economic, and political lives. We Americans live in the most individualistic country in the world. The ideologies rooted in the soil of extreme American individualism permeate every aspect of our society - and that includes our religion. Maybe that's why we seem much more likely to confront our individual dark side and our individual mortality than our collective and social ones. 


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Escaping the Fundamental Paradigm

As I sit this morning at 5am to have a bit of downtime before the day, I was pleased to find Bishop Spong's latest newsletter in my inbox.   In this letter there was a Q & A with a reader asking about how to make the Church relevant for modern day people (yes, the BIG question of the century indeed) and in his respose Bishop Spong wrote: "Most of our doctrinal explanations have long passed their “sell by” shelf life."  I really loved that quote.

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Why I Love ISIS Members and Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden ISIS







Ok, first things first, this headline is not click-bait, it is real.  I grew up in New York.  Both my father and grandfather were in the construction business and worked on the twin towers with their own bare hands.  I have an uncle who is a detective that was stationed at the WTC Port Authority station, and also a cousin who worked in Tower 2.  Both my uncle and cousin survived, but when those buildings fell, I felt pure hate for those who did it.  I admit it, I felt pure – unfettered - unadulterated hate for those murderers.  I cannot imagine how the poor souls felt who actually did lose their loved ones that dark day.  I think all human beings of conscience felt absolutely horrified at seeing how misguided and indoctrinated other human beings can become.


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The Parable of the Window Shade

I have a couple windows in my sitting room (actual pic there btw).  Sometimes in the morning I get up early and hang out in that room for a bit to read or write, and I open the shade on the right to let a little light in.


Often times I don’t even bother opening the larger shade on the left because the smaller window on the right seems to let as much light in as when they’re both opened, and the smaller one certainly transmits more light than if I only open the large one instead.


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Bart Ehrman with Stephen Colbert




This is a funny interview of Bart Ehrman by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report.  It's definitely worth the 6 minutes to check it out.   If you don't know Bart, he is a scholar who went to Wheaton College to pursue the evangelical ministry, but through his study there, and his subsequent Ph.D studies at Princeton, he ended up writing multiple best selling books about the many errors and contradictions in the Bible.  I find his scholarship to be excellent.


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I'm a Gay Christian! (sort of...)

progressive Christian Cross
It’s official:  I am here to proclaim openly that I am a happy Christian!  What?  Did you think I meant something other than happy when I said I was gay?  Oh… you thought I liked guys?  You mean the word gay has evolved and changed its common meaning over the past fifty years?  Well no, I’m not gay in that way (not that there would be anything wrong with that).  I’m in my 30’s and the earliest use of the word gay that I ever heard was in the intro to the The Flinstones and the lyrics to The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams.  But perhaps there are some of you who are reading this right now who’ve never heard the word gay used in any other context?  In which case, let’s talk about another word that has evolved its meaning over the last fifty years: Christian.

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Love Love Love is All We Need

Love Is All We NeedAs much as I like rolling up my sleeves and looking deeply at a subject, I also very much appreciate images that can do the work of a thousand words, so I try to create some sharable memes.   I don't post them all on the blog, so if you're not already following the facebook page be sure to like (and follow) it to see them all.

A big focus is the messages of peace and love that Jesus and others demonstrated by their examples.  So I created this image to help spread the word that love truly is all we need.


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Can Christians also be Atheists?

Old Testament God
This question about whether Christians can also be atheists (or vise versa) may sound absolutely ridiculous to you, but it's one I felt compelled to explore.   Over the past decade I've noticed a large migration of Christians into the atheist camp because of their preference for logic and reason - instead of woo-woo, irrationality, and blind faith.  But over the past decade there has also been a great emergence of Christians who aren't hiding from the facts either.  Christians who accept science and historical / literary Biblical criticism.  Christians who are not pushing untenable positions on others via a contentious package of ultimatums. Christians who are in many ways a-theists (said another way, non-theists).


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A Matrix of Christianity - Come and See

Matrix Christianity
If you've seen the movie The Matrix you may remember this scene where Morpheus offers Neo the option to learn "the truth" - or - to go on believing whatever he wants to believe.   The clip is below (it's only 36 seconds).


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False Evolution vs True Evolution

A (creationist) friend shared this image on facebook today, and I found it troubling, as if it has to be an either-or type of thing.  Like someone cannot agree with evolution and be a humble follower of Jesus.


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The Progressive Christianity Index (PCI)


Welcome.  This project is designed to promote awareness and understanding about the various types of people who classify themselves as "progressive Christians" and participate in "progressive Christian" communities.  All voter data on the associated surveys is completely anonymous and completed in partnership with Survey Monkey.


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Do You See Jesus?

I wanted to share a little back-story on this image, as I think the chain of events around how I found it, and why I created it as a text over, tells as story of its own.

Now to those of you who know my theology, you will know that I don't literally go for the heaven / hell  and king / throne imagery in this parable - but I don't want to get into a big exegesis about that in this post.  What I do want to get into though is the points Jesus is making.  He's making two points (1) love ain't about intellectual beliefs  (2) if we want to "believe in Jesus" we do that by serving "the least of our brothers and sisters."  That's how we show that we "believe" (properly translated as agree) in what Jesus was saying...

Here's the Bible parable I'm talking about:



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What God Isn't

what God isntWhile writing this months column on prayer for ProgressiveChristianity.Org (which you can check out here if you would like) I got inspired to create the latest meme.   What do you think?



If you would like to comment and share you can click here for the Facebook post



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What Are James Fowlers Stages of Faith?

James W Fowler Stages of FaithJames Fowler was a Professor of Theology at Emory University, and a United Methodist Minister.  He published the following "Stages of Faith" in his book called Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning, which became very popular in the 1980's and remains influential to this day.

Over the past few months I've heard a number of people mention Fowler's stages in casual conversation, and I thought it might be useful to share them with anyone who may not be familiar with them - or to serve as a reminder for those who may have heard it in the past but haven't looked back at them in some time.  Similar to the stages of grief we might reference after the loss of a loved one, these "stages of faith" by Fowler can help us make sense of our life - and our spiritual path.   They're also helpful to focus us on where we are and what we might be looking for next.   I highly suggest everyone take an honest inventory and put some thought into how we progress, and if we are currently engaged in any communities or practices that are helping us move forward.


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You've Heard It Said, But Jesus Says

Jesus You've Heard it Said
When I was 20 yrs old and had been away from the church for some time, I began to consider going back again.  There was a lot in the Bible that confused me or turned me off, but I was able to shelf that stuff as non-gating at that time, because there were a few specific things that made getting back into Christian community seem like a better decision than staying away.  One of those things that drew me back into Christian community was the "you've heard it said" statements by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  


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Is Ray Comfort Right About Evolution?

Jesus Fish with Legs
From my years in the church I still have a number of fundamentalist friends who swear that evolution is just some unfounded and outlandish theory to distract us from God.  To them evolution is a threat to all things sacred, because if God did not create us specifically as human beings, and deem us special as compared to other flora and fauna on earth, then maybe their entire worldview is in jeopardy.  If we're just really smart monkeys, or even really really smart slime evolved over millions of years through the brutal process of natural selection, that changes their outlook on God (and hence some dig in their heels with creationism, while others throw anything metaphysical out the window and become Atheists).

I specifically created this blog post to offer a resource for you to simply send to anyone you know who is confused about the evolution vs. creationism debate.

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Do Fundamentalists Own Christianity?

______________________

Jesse Dooleyby Jesse Dooley
Blogger


fundamentalist Christian question markThere seems to be two opposing positions that plead for absolute membership. One is fundamentalism, specifically Christian fundamentalism.  The other is atheism, specifically anti-Christian atheism.

I have lived on both sides of the aisle. As a young teenager, I was introduced to a brand of Christianity that most Americans would recognize. It was a Christianity that believed it was the only true way to God. A few distinctive characteristics from my personal experiences with Christian fundamentalism include belief in Biblical inerrancy and infallibility, young earth creationism, and Dominionism.

So why do I still identify myself as a Christian if I don’t hold to such views anymore? 


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Are Naked Pastors the Future of the Church? A Case Study on David Hayward

When was the last time you were naked?   No, I mean really naked?   I’m not talking about clothes here, I’m talking about your spirit?  I ask this unusual question because today I am excited to share a case study on David Hayward, aka “The Naked Pastor.” His well known cartoons are almost always in black & white, but his pastoral journey has been anything but.  And today we’re going to take a closer look at his journey as a model for the future Church, which he was gracious enough to agree to.
David was has been a pastor for 30+ years, and is also a talented cartoonist.  He can say with one cartoon what I often struggle to say in a thousand words, and that’s how I came to find his blog.  And yes I left the word was struck above on purpose, because to me he is probably doing more pastoring now than he ever did from a pulpit.  But as much as I like his cartoons, this post really has nothing to do with that, and it’s not a biography about David either.  Today I want to take a look at why a guy like David, who is full of talent, commitment, and creativity tends to get pushed out of a pastoral role in today’s Churches.  And to also take a look at how Christianity can (and must) evolve to not only tolerate someone like David, but fully embrace him!  And this isn’t just about David, it’s about the thousands of  Christian leaders who share his story (perhaps you?)

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