Progressive Christians ARE Christians, we are not a sub group of Christianity, rather we feel we have found a flavor of Christianity that Jesus would best be associated with. We are Christians who preach the gospel of love and salvation from self. A message of love, a desire for peace and tolerance to all people; this is a general description of what progressive Christianity is about. This is counter to many in the conservative evangelical world who hold to strict theological doctrines and dogmas in fear of hellfire and brimstone. Progressive Christianity does not embrace fear. As the scripture states “perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18). In many ways our flavor of Christianity can bring many together in unity around the simple idea of love.
It is time to forget about your mother’s Christianity and step into the new age. I am speaking primarily of hardcore fundamentalism. When I was growing up it was all about hellfire and brimstone and salvation of souls. I was so scared half the time that I think I was “saved” every Sunday. You do not need to be a theologian of any status to understand that this is not what Jesus wanted. Bringing people into the church by way of fear is no better than putting a knife to ones throat and telling them “convert or die.” Who wants to enter heaven under compulsion? Would you really be entering heaven? Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven being within our mist. Yes, Jesus did also speak of hellfire, sin, and evil; yet humanity has overemphasized the darkness and forgot the light.
Progressive Christians are often very political and lean towards liberalism. This is often due to our stance on love and inclusiveness. We do not want to compete for ownership of the church; we just want to be the church. Conservative Christians are generally republicans who vote primarily for the “pro-life” candidates even if the candidate drops bombs on refugees and sends men and women to die for self-interest. They may not always admit it, but generally their churches are primarily white, anti-LGBT, nationalist, who would rather have a theocracy instead of freedom. Progressive Christians are “pro-choice” although that is misleading as well. Abortion is not a laughing matter and we take it very seriously. We support the LGBT community and often our most senior leaders are members of this community. Many of us believe in workers’ rights, universal healthcare, and tax payer funded education; that a person working a full time job should earn a living wage with enough for leisure. We do not believe in a water downed gospel; instead we hold to the gospel of Jesus, understanding we are all on a journey of faith that cannot be outlined and fit into a box. We are looked upon as liberal because our faith compels us to be like Jesus. God is a globalist and loves all people. Progressive Christians do not believe that you can contain the love of God. God’s love is too big for that! God’s love is for all. Our love is for all!
Blessed are people who dwell in unity. Today we are divided on so many issues that we find ourselves living like members of primal tribes. We say we have one faith yet we cast stones at those who do not believe the same way we do. I will show you a better way.
As we leave 2017 and start 2018 we are living in the most divisive time that many of us have ever experienced. Left, right, liberal conservative, progressive, fundamental. What has divided us as Christians has been Jesus, but what will unite us will also be Jesus! Listen and be blessed!
What if anything does patriotism and church have in common? There has been a lot of open patriotic activity within the church since the election. Yet is this such a new phenomena? No, it isn’t we have seen it for thousands of years. Buckle up and hold tight The Backyard Preacher Podcast is a click away!
Many of my progressive Christian friends are probably use to seeing the many articles floating around denouncing nationalism within the church and for the most part I agree. For the most part. While I am not one on 4th of July church services, there is almost a natural link between church and state regardless of the constitution. From ancient times the King or Queen ruled by divine right called “The Divine Right of Kings.” If you go back to ancient Egypt we see the Pharaoh as the god-king, the high priest of the nation as well as political ruler. It just might be in our DNA to set off firecrackers and salute our nation’s flag, all the while saying a prayer to our deity for another day of freedom.
So while within the Christian faith I think it is important not to go so far as to force feed people a religious diet. We do live in the United States in which the founding fathers had a brilliant and beautiful idea of separation of church and state, we also do not want to leave God out of the government and act like he will not enter the chambers of congress because we will not invite him in, or within the courts because we take down the ten commandments or a statue of Baphomet, as if God was so inferior and able to be stopped by our human measures.
I believe a more centrist approach is needed. I personally think much of this backlash against celebration of the state within a religious context comes from the recent election of Donald Trump. I do not support Trump, but nonetheless I will not be one of those “He is not my President” people, because he is my president as a citizen of the United States. Both sides, liberal and conservative have an opportunity to allow what is going on in today’s government to bring us together. Let this be an opportunity to get back to the basics of Christianity. Let me remind you that Christianity is not a religion of any state, but rather faith in Jesus, unlike the religions of the ancients we do not allow the state control over us. Yet we kind of compromise as Jesus said, give unto Cesar what is Cesar’s.
I believe both liberal and conservative Christians are engaged in what amounts to rebellion. Conservatives want to create a government of the church and by the church, and liberals are moving so far away from the church into the realm of Unitarianism. As a progressive Christian I am not going to sell out my faith and bash everything churches around the country do. Just as I do not want them to bash me and my progressive theology. I believe we can unite once again and agree to disagree.