A Year in the Life: Top 10 Progressive Christian Posts of 2015

A Year in the Life: Top 10 Progressive Christian Posts of 2015 December 21, 2015


The year 2015 brought Patheos bloggers — and especially our passionate Progressive Christian bloggers — plenty to write and rant about, from discriminatory cake bakers to sexually-abusive fundamentalists to Olympic-winning transgenders. We pushed back on the notion of “Christian persecution” in America, grieved way too many mass shootings, and raged on behalf of way too many murdered black youth, men and women at the hands of white cops.

We celebrated when same-sex marriage became the law of the land, shook our heads when a Kentucky clerk took such marriage matters into her own hands, and we talked an awful lot about Christian identity. We also mourned the loss of one of the most influential voices of Progressive Christianity, beloved teacher and theologian Marcus Borg.

Here’s a round-up of the Top 10 Patheos Progressive Christian Posts of the Year, ranked by most popular in terms of pageviews.

1. 10 Situations Where Christian Bakers Should Refuse To Bake Wedding Cakes
by Benjamin L. Corey of Formerly Fundie

Effective immediately, we need to smile and say “no cake for you!” to the following 10 people…” Thus begins Ben Corey’s brilliant satirical post in response to the passing of Indiana’s “religious freedom” law giving businesses the right to refuse services on religious grounds. Far and away the most popular post of the year, Ben offered a witty and bracing commentary on how Christians apply “biblical” principles when it confirms their religious point of view, yet ignore the many other ways Christians behave “unbiblically” every day.

2. A Teachable Moment: How Oklahoma University Failed Transformation 101
by Maria Dixon of The View from Dixon Hall

When a bunch of white frat boys got caught on video singing a derogatory, racist chant that also included a phrase about lynching, the Oklahoma U. administration shut down their fraternity chapter. Perfect response, right? Wrong, says Professor Maria Dixon, who argued that the administration missed a teachable moment with these young men. “Rather than confronting, challenging, AND teaching; a college community merely washed their hands and decided that their students were beyond redemption,” Dixon argued. Maria Dixon always astounds me with her unexpected and deeply mature opinions on the controversial news of the day.

3. What About the Girls: The Duggar Scandal and the Cost of Fundamentalism
by Erin Wathen of Irreverin

The Duggar sexual abuse scandal rocked the faith world last spring, and Patheos bloggers joined the chorus of outrage — at least here on the Progressive Christian Channel! As the dominant conversation centered around Josh Duggar’s actions and how he was being punished, the Rev. Erin Wathen asked, What about the girls in fundamentalist families? Where is their voice? Who speaks for them? Erin is a whip smart pastor and mother and never minces words – or disappoints – in her posts.

4. 10 Ways to Determine if your Christianity Has Been “Americanized
by Benjamin L. Corey

“Instead of Christianity as it was passed onto the disciples and early church, we have a uniquely American version – and one we’d do well to dissect until we’ve found freedom from it, and freedom to return home to the life and message of Jesus.” Ben Corey is back, and he’s at his best when he applies his critical lens to American Christianity.  

5. Please Stop with the Christian Persecution Complex. You’re Embarrassing the Faith
by Ben Dixon of God Is Not A Republican

We welcomed another provocative “Ben” to Patheos this year and have been all the better for it. Ben Dixon — pastor, father and radio host — blogs at God is Not a Republican, and writes on some of the most controversial topics of the day. In this post, he critiques the growing “Christian Persecution” argument by reminding us that there is very real persecution of Christians across the globe, but this, here, ain’t it. 

6. 5 Ways the Duggar Scandal is Everything That’s Wrong with the U.S.
by Mark Sandlin of The God Article

The always-popular Rev. Mark Sandlin points out how the response to the Duggar scandal epitomizes the worst of America, from liberals mis-hyping the scandal to the media’s focus on Josh and “how difficult the public exposure must be for the family.”

7. Your “Deeply Held Religious Belief” Isn’t Biblical
by April Kelsey at Unfundamentalist Christians

“The more I hear the words ‘deeply held religious belief,’ the more uneasy I feel,” says April Kelsey in her attention-grabbing post. “I wasn’t sure why until I had read through the umpteenth article on the subject. And that’s when I realized that the so-called ‘beliefs’ being defended aren’t actually rooted in scripture.” The Unfundamentalist Christians group blog boasts a smart and questioning group of younger bloggers, delivering thoughtful posts on the social justice issues and theological debates dotting the Christian landscape on any given day.

8. 24 Warning Signs that Your Evangelical Friend Might be About to “Depart” for the Episcopal Church
by Fred Clark, aka Slacktivist

Lest our Top 10 list be all gloom and doom, Fred Clark offers up a hilarious post playing off the differences between Evangelicals and “high-church” Protestants. (“You say ‘How’re you doing?’ and they respond ‘And also with you.'”) Fred Clark, or Slacktivist, as he’s know to his many fans on the internet, is Patheos Progressive Christian’s most popular blogger in terms of overall page views, year after year. If you haven’t read him yet, you must click over for a visit and add him to your reader!

9. Pastor Looks Up in Tears: I Had No Idea
by Susan Cottrell of FreedHearts

Our tireless and terrific advocates for LGBTQ youth, Susan and Rob Cottrell, offer one of their trademark passionate posts about Christians missing the mark on the question of gays in the church and Kingdom. Their imaginary tale of a pastor speaking with God at the pearly gates ends with these lines: “Every day, people from the pews and the pulpits are realizing the deadly result of their attitudes. Every day, people are becoming welcoming, loving, and affirming. Every day, people are choosing the heart and truth of God. Are you?”

10. God Did Not Kill Jesus on the Cross for Our Sins
by Mark Sandlin

And of course, no Progressive Christian Top 10 list would be complete without a post critiquing the theory of atonement (the belief that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins). Here, popular blogger and probably one of our most progressive Christians, the Rev. Mark Sandlin, argues against the atonement theory as part of a special Easter “Head-to-Head” debate at Patheos. I like to think he won, but then again, I’m not the Progressive Channel Manager for nothing.

Our Top 10 Posts, of course, represent just a tiny sampling of the multitude of extraordinary posts published all year long, by dozens of Progressive Christian authors, scholars, professors, students, pastors, parents, leaders, and laypeople. I’m enormously grateful for all of our writers who share their talents with us, and the way they challenge us, inform us, make us think, inspire us to act, and remind us of the light and hope in the world, every day.

And finally, thank you, smart and faithful readers, for following us and adding your voice to the Patheos Progressive Christian conversation this year!

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