I like progressive Christians. They’re a fun bunch: witty, conversational, tending toward expressive body language. And they always have lots of wine they purchased at a reasonable price. What’s not to like?
One thing it’s pretty easy for progressive Christians not to like, though, is, sadly, me.
I know! I can’t believe it either! It still shocks me every time one of them yanks a wine glass from my hand and asks me to leave.
“But why?” I respond with wide-eyed incredulity. “I thought we were having such a great conversation.”
“Yeah, we were,” they say. “Until you joined it. You’re to a normal conversation what a backhoe is to a spoon.”
But cruel. Witty and cruel. Tough combo. Then again, if Witty & Cruel was a law firm, you’d hire it. But you wouldn’t respect yourself in the morning.
Anyway, the reason I tend to in fairly short order utterly fail at blending with progressive Christians is because … because … .
Oh, no. I feel a rant coming on.
I knew I shouldn’t have had that extra venti latte.
Too late. It’s on. I could no sooner stop this upcoming rant than Willy the whale could have stopped wanting to be free. (I didn’t see the movie, but I assume freedom was Willy’s goal. Willy was also a killer whale, right? So the reason he wanted to be free can’t be good. Willy’s kid owners must have been, like, “Free Willy!” And all the dolphins and fish outside of Willy’s pen must have been like, “No, don’t!” But did we hear their side of the story? No. Freakin’ Hollywood. )
But on to my rave.
So if there’s one thing to recommend discussing theology, it’s that doing so allows you to remain firmly within the warm and fuzzy confines of The Waffle Zone (motto: Where the food isn’t particularly inoffensive, and there’s not enough of it.)
And nobody more enjoys seeing if they can cram one more angel onto the head of the proverbial pin than does your typical progressive Christian. Progressive “followers of Christ” (and can we please drop that faux-modest nicety, and just call ourselves Christian: why does the right get to keep that word?) are fairly enamored of discussing theology and All Things Churcy, in the main because doing so affords them two irresistible opportunities: the chance to assume the airs of an intelligent person, and the chance to justify avoiding any thought that actually matters.
Pontification fodder and elaborate waffle dressing! Why, it’s like ordering the breakfast platter at the International House of Spinelessness!
A simple-minded person such as myself prefers simple thoughts. Here are two simple thoughts that I think should be fully morphed into the brain (and spine) of anyone with the cajones to call himself a progressive Christian. (Though at all employing the term “progressive Christian” automatically slides you into a booth at IHOS, since it denotes anything from socially progressive, to theologically progressive, to socially progressive but theologically centrist, to theologically progressive but socially centrist, to socially theological but progressively boring, to would you like a little half-flat seltzer water with that half-empty glass of white zinfandel?)
If you’re going to call yourself a Christian progressive, I would like to suggest that you step out of the sugary-sweet Waffle Zone, and instead unapologetically claim as your own these two readily comprehensible beliefs:
- Being gay is no more an indicator of a person’s moral status than is the color of their eyes.
- There is no such thing as hell.
There. Those are two things that all progressive Christians should believe. If you are a Christian who doesn’t firmly and comfortably believe those two things, then stop calling yourself a progressive Christian.
And if you simply need help remembering these two tenets, try these fun rhymes!
God’s okay with you being gay / ‘Cause he knows he made you that way.
See? Catchy! Who could forget that?
Now let’s do one about hell.
If you say “You’re going to hell!” / then shut the fuck up.
Whoa. Much less catchy. Sorry.
The first big step to creating hell / is telling other people they’re going there.
Hey. It’s a start.