Saturday, March 12, 2005

Progressive Christianity

Humans love to categorize. We love to label, name and segment.

And while I wish not to box myself in and say "I am THIS," I think I have found a group of people that share a lot of the same philosophies and worldviews as myself. The name of this is Progressive Christianity. Here are the "8 Points" from the Center for Progressive Christianity's website:
By calling ourselves progressive,
we mean that we are Christians who:

1. Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus;

2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us;

3. Understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus's name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God's feast for all peoples; (Trev's note: I'm not sure I totally get what what this means, exactly ... will have to investigate)

4. Invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to):
  • believers and agnostics, conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope;

5. Know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe;

6. Find more grace in the search for understanding than we do in dogmatic certainty - more value in questioning than in absolutes;

7. Form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God's creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers; and

8. Recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.

I have found much truth in my investigations of Truth from around the world. And while I respect and can completely understand why someone would choose to exclusively follow the way of Krishna, the Buddha, Rama, Allah or the myriad of other spiritual leaders, teachers and gurus, I choose to know and follow Yeshua (Jesus) as my gateway to "the Father." I love that his spiritual life was both esoteric and exoteric - the inner world of consciousness and spirit and the outer world of love and service. I will continue to learn and explore the ways that others touch and know the Infinite Mind - the Ground of Being - but always know that I have this home base to which I can always return.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."


Erin said...

I have to ask a question. If there are truly other avenues through which people can reach the Father, then what God allowed to happen to his Son is cruel, don't you think? And God, by definition of being love incarnate, cannot be cruel. Why would God allow his Son to be tortured and killed if there were ANY other way to Him? Either Jesus was God's Son or He wasn't. Either scripture is God-breathed or it is not. Relativism, the whole "that is truth to you and this is truth to me" ultimately leaves in the hands of humans, what should only be left in the hands of God, and that is, the definition of truth itself. These are my thoughts-feel free to discuss them :)

Trev Diesel said...

Erin - thanks for the questions and thoughts. You have always been an incredible example to me of a follower of Jesus. It's just very obvious by the way you live your life that the Spirit of Christ is in you! :)

I began writing out a complicated reply to your questions, but I erased it when I decided that I'm really not trying to CONVINCE anybody to be/think/act like me. I'm just sharing who I am right now. I guess I'm just not sure how useful a lengthy, wordy response would be. This may sound like a TOTAL cop-out, but I've just spent many hours on message boards and blogs in the past having (for lack of a better word) "argumentative" dialogues with people about faith matters. I'm just not sure what it ever accomplishes. It seems that everyone has very good reasons why they belive/think/act the way they do and are very rarely convinced to believe/think/act otherwise. If you ever want to have coffee and a conversation about these issues, I would be willing to do that - but I really don't want to take the time to bounce discourses on Jesus' sacrifice, atonement, and the "inerrancy of God's Word" back and forth over this medium.

So, to answer your question in a VERY roundabout manner, I just offer this story: Today I got a letter from a 15 year old Hindu girl that we financially support in India named Kavitha. In her letter she talked about her family's financial struggles and how she enjoyed the picture of me and Amy. Then about halfway through the letter - out of nowhere - she said: "We've been praying for you."

Kavitha has a different name for God than we do, and yet I recognize her faithfulness to God and appreciate her love and prayers. It meant more to me to read those words than I can possibly communicate. I'm totally convinced that she is (or at least has the opportunity to be) at least as faithful to God in her culture as we are in ours.

isaiah said...

"I choose to know and follow Yeshua (Jesus) as my gateway to "the Father." I love that his spiritual life was both esoteric and exoteric - the inner world of consciousness and spirit and the outer world of love and service."

Thanks for this interesting post, Trev. Like you say in your statement above, I, too choose to follow truth with Jesus as my way-shower and the more I learn (the less I know) about other religions and cultures and 'truths' the more it points back to Christianity and the words of Jesus.

Jon said...

Thanksk for sharing that, Trev. It's kind of an ironic thing that I started studying other religions seriously after I had a profound experience of Jesus--I sense that he sent me onto this step in a way, which is undoubtedly difficult for most Christians to understand, since I know it is for me!

gratefulbear said...

Erin, you raise some wonderful questions. On my Blog of the Grateful Bear, I recently posted the views of two historic theologians, Peter Abelard and Origen, who had very different views about what the atonement was really about, as well as the universality of God's love. These views have never been held as "orthodox," but they have been a part of the Christian tradition for over 1800 years -- Origen wrote in the early 200's. You can read the post at