Why I Am a Progressive Christian

This month, Patheos has invited its many, faith-diverse writers to contribute to a new series called “Why I Am A… in 200 words or less.” Here, columnist John Holbert shares why he’s a progressive Christian. (Read more responses to the question here.)

Actually, I was no kind of Christian at all growing up. My family did not go to church; Sunday mornings in Arizona were reserved for TV sports. My parents were Goldwater Republicans; no progressivism there. I attended a non-Christian college and met my future wife there (still married after 43 years). On our fourth or fifth date, she announced, “Well, John, I like you a lot, but I could never marry anyone who was not a Methodist minister.” The call of God became deafening at that moment. I soon found myself in a seminary, and after taking Hebrew further found myself something like a Christian. Yes, Virginia, I found faith in seminary. And, yes, God has a wicked and wacky sense of humor.  It was a progressive seminary, so I became a progressive Christian, having little knowledge of anything different. And, it turned out that my wife did not really want to marry a Methodist minister; she in fact wanted to be a Methodist minister. And so about 20 years into our marriage she became one. I meanwhile have just concluded a 33-year stint teaching in that same seminary that I stumbled into 45 years ago. As a beloved colleague was fond of saying: “God moves in a nefarious way God’s blunders to perform.

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