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Progressive Christianity: What It Is and Why It Matters Today


Friendship, by Picasso
"Friendship", by Picasso

A Patheos Symposium hosted by the Patheos Progressive Christian Portal, in partnership with the Wild Goose Festival.

This week and next, the new Progressive Christian Portal at Patheos presents a symposium on Progressive Christianity: what it is and why it matters today. We invited a diverse group of renowned scholars, bloggers, pastors, and authors—from mainline Protestants to progressive Evangelicals—to reflect on one or more of the following questions: What is Progressive Christianity? How is it different from more conservative expressions of Christianity? from liberalism? from non-Christian faith traditions? Is "progressive" first a theological posture or a political culture? Is there a common theology associated with progressive Christianity? What role does progressive Christianity play—or what role should it play—in social activism, politics, and the overall conversation about faith in the U.S. and around the world? What is the future of the progressive Christian movement?

We'll be posting new articles over the next two weeks on this page and on the Wild Goose Festival blog, so invite you to bookmark us and return often.  As we hope this is just the beginning of a conversation, we invite your comments on an article or blogpost—or join the conversation at our new Progressive Christan Portal Facebook page.

Week 1 (June 13-19): Defining the Landscape - Where We've Come From and Where We Are Now; A Progressive Christian Theology

Contributors: Cynthia Astle, Jim Burklo, Monica Coleman, Bruce Epperly, Paul Fromberg, Greg Garrett, Carl Gregg, James McGrath, Brian McLaren, Mike Morrell, Scott Paeth, Bruce Reyes-Chow, Phyllis Tickle

Week 2 (June 20-26): Progressive Christianity: Mission and Identity

Contributors: Sam Alexander, Diana Butler Bass, Jarrod Cochran, Eric Elnes, Jonathan Fitzgerald, Becky Garrison, Lisa Hess, John Holbert, Anne Howard, Jay Johnson, Tony Jones, Brian Kirk, Rick Quinn, David Sessions, Susan Strouse

Progressive Christianity: Losing the Magic Blood

by Sam Alexander

Isn't progressive Christianity really evangelical faith minus the literal myth?

Tracing the Theological Core of a Movement

by Cynthia B. Astle

The editor of "The Progressive Christian" responds to a recent article by Fred Schmidt: The thesis that progressive Christianity has no expressed theological core is flawed.

An Interview with Diana Butler Bass

Excerpts from a Darkwood Brew episode of "If Love Wins, What Now?" featuring Skype-Guest Diana Butler Bass.

Progressive Christianity Today: A Widening Current

by Jim Burklo

More and more Christians are finding a voice, a language, to express their faith in terms that transcend the narrow doctrines and circumscribed social agendas of the religious right.

The New F-Word

by Monica A. Coleman

I know that progressive Christianity is the new f-word for some Christians who don't want all its associations. But I want it all.

A Progressive's Three Great Loves

by Eric Elnes

A Progressive Christian is one who takes seriously the Three Great Loves identified by Jesus (God, Neighbor, Self), and rejects the notion that "two outta three ain't bad."

Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?

by Bruce Epperly

While progressives might nuance their affirmations in different ways, here are some key progressive theological assumptions as a starting point for dialogue.

From Evangelical to Progressive

by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald

The emergence of the Progressive Christian portal marks an opportunity to come together over our differences.

Christians and Progress: Following Jesus

by Paul Fromberg

Is Progressive Christianity really about progress, or is it more accurately a return to orthodoxy?

Living In the Now and Not Yet: Toward a Theology of Progressive Christianity

by Greg Garrett

What I'd propose as an underlying theology for a 21st-century progressive Christianity is our belief and participation in what theologians call, variously, "realized eschatology."

Seeing the Light in the Battle for LGBT Rights

by Becky Garrison

Why not designate those "progressive evangelicals" who do not feel called to champion LGBT rights as "traditionalist progressives."

By Whose Authority?

by Carl Gregg

My first instinct is to consult my personal experience rather than asking, "What has been the creedal confession of church tradition concerning this issue?"

Progressive Resurrection(s)

by Lisa M. Hess

I'm an oft-mistaken Evangelical with historic Christian faith commitments indebted to Buddhist wisdom. Is that progressive?

An Old Testament Professor On Being Progressive

by John C. Holbert

To be progressive is not to be bound by traditional ways and beliefs. Here my hero is Job, that loud-mouthed questioner, seated on the ash heap of his life.

Growing Progressive Leaders: The Beatitudes Society

by Anne Howard

Moving into the second decade of the 21st century, it is clear to see that this is a faith that will cross denominational boundaries and move outside of institutional structures.

Queerly Progressive: Healing For the Whole Church

by Jay Emerson Johnson

Queerly progressive Christians will rely on theology not only as the rationale for social and political engagement but also for fresh visions of where those engagements might lead.

Is Progressive the Right Term?

by Tony Jones

The biggest challenge will be whether those of us fall under the progressive rubric define it, or whether we let conservatives demonize the term, just like they did with “liberal.”

Progressive Christian Youth Ministry: A Primer

by Brian Kirk

Leading a youth ministry from a progressive Christian perspective can be challenging. It would clearly be easier to hand our teens their faith in a pre-packaged box, no questions asked.

Progressive Christianity and the Bible

by James F. McGrath

What Martin Luther knew full well, but many Protestants today sometimes forget, is that the whole notion of "Scripture" is something that cannot simply be taken for granted without discussion.

Not Conservative, Not Liberal: Progressive

by Brian D. McLaren

Being a progressive Christian means more than being lax, lazy, fuzzy, flimsy, proud, and dying.

What's Progressive About Progressive Christianity?

by Scott Paeth

If Jim Wallis insists on representing progressive Christianity, he is going to have to reckon with the importance of gay and lesbian civil rights to the progressive cause.

Theological and Political: An Interview with Jarrod Cochran

by Patheos Editors

"The last thing this country needs is a Progressive-styled version of the Religious Right." An interview with the co-founder of the Progressive Christian Alliance.

You Might Be A Progressive Christian If...

by Bruce Reyes-Chow

So here we go, my top ten, intentionally fuzzy list of perspectives and postures that might make you a Progressive Christian.

Believe Out Begins with Believe In: A Rejoinder to Cynthia Astle

by Frederick W. Schmidt

Progressive Christian voices are so diverse that that it is difficult for the movement to avoid resorting to political categories and concerns in addressing differences of opinion.

Is Jesus the Only Way?

by Susan Strouse

Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." But was he talking about other faiths?

Progressive vs. Emergence Christianity: From Where I Sit

by Phyllis Tickle

Despite the sharing of conversations, there still are some distinct differences between Progressive Christianity and Emergence Christianity.

The Mystery of Redemption: Progressives and Social Justice

by Rick Quinn

How does a theological concept of social justice come to be seen as a threat to freedom and liberty to conservatives?