The Beloved Community: From Formation to Action

If you live in Atlanta, are thinking about moving to Atlanta (you know who you are!), or are simply interested in helping progressive Christianity to prosper in the Atlanta area, this event looks mighty tasty: The Beloved Community: From Formation to Action which is scheduled for October 10-11, 2008. According to the “Progressive Christian Cooperative” website, this event will be a networking opportunity for those who are interested in living out an inclusive theology with an emphasis on social justice. The only sour note for me is that the PC Cooperative website explicitly states that it is “a movement within contemporary Protestant Christianity” — I wish they had used a word like “ecumenical” or some other tag that wouldn’t give a possible sense of being exclusive to non-Protestant Christians. Hopefully they won’t mind a Catholic or two coming to hang out, though.

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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • zoecarnate

    And not to nit-pick even further, but to me the term ‘progressive’ is so freighted and vague that its more of a detriment than a ‘plus.’ Does it mean politically progressive? I can live with that. Does it mean if I believe in the virgin birth and resurrection, I wouldn’t feel welcome?

    Nonetheless, it does look like a great event.

  • Carl McColman

    I know, I know. And what if a person believes that we are called to holiness? And that there really is such a thing as chastity, and that it matters in the Christian life? These are important issues to me, and ones that I’m not sure it’s okay to bring up in “progressive” circles. I face the same dilemma on a political level: I believe that we must combat social evil (which loses me friends among conservatives) but I also believe that each individual must fight the evil within him/herself (which loses me friends among liberals). Ay yi yi…

  • Darrell Grizzle

    I wonder if post-progressive post-Protestants will be welcome???

  • Carl McColman

    That’s funny, that’s very much what I would consider myself to be!

    My enthusiasm for this has cooled a bit. The event is expensive ($45 per person for Friday evening and Saturday) and, frankly, one of the reasons I became a Catholic was because I’m more interested in finding community that transcends the old liberal/conservative fault line. The Progressive Christian group lists as its first marker of identity “willingness to question tradition” — the more I think about that, the more it’s a red flag for me. Now, “Willingness to seek how the Holy Spirit is moving the people of God in new ways in our time,” that I could handle. But “questioning tradition” sounds like a code word for “If we don’t like it, it’s history.” I mean, you can question tradition because you think the church has been complicit in social sins like racism, sexism and homophobia — or, you can question tradition because you are hostile to the very idea of tradition, period. Those are two radically different agendas, and I’m not quite sure which one represents the PC folks. My fear is that they’re a little bit of both.

  • truthmerchant