In the summer of 2011 we hosted a symposium on the evolving landscape of Progressive Christianity.
We invited a diverse group of renowned scholars, bloggers, pastors, and authors—from mainline Protestants to progressive Evangelicals—to reflect on 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? These are the answers we recieved.
Isn't progressive Christianity really evangelical faith minus the literal myth?
Cynthia B. Astle
The thesis that progressive Christianity has no expressed theological core is flawed.
Excerpts from a Darkwood Brew episode of "If Love Wins, What Now?" featuring Skype-Guest Diana Butler Bass.
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.
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 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."
While progressives might nuance their affirmations in different ways, here are some key progressive theological assumptions as a starting point for dialogue.
Jonathan D. Fitzgerald
The emergence of the Progressive Christian portal marks an opportunity to come together over our differences.
Is Progressive Christianity really about progress, or is it more accurately a return to orthodoxy?
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."
Why not designate those "progressive evangelicals" who do not feel called to champion LGBT rights as "traditionalist progressives."
My first instinct is to consult my personal experience rather than asking, "What has been the creedal confession of church tradition concerning this issue?"
Lisa M. Hess
I'm an oft-mistaken Evangelical with historic Christian faith commitments indebted to Buddhist wisdom. Is that progressive?
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Brian D. McLaren
Being a progressive Christian means more than being lax, lazy, fuzzy, flimsy, proud, and dying.
"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.
So here we go, my top ten, intentionally fuzzy list of perspectives and postures that might make you a Progressive Christian.
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.
Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." But was he talking about other faiths?
Despite the sharing of conversations, there still are some distinct differences between Progressive Christianity and Emergence Christianity.
How does a theological concept of social justice come to be seen as a threat to freedom and liberty to conservatives?