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8 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2009 - 9:57AM #11
Posts: 4,487

Hi everyone,

This is always a difficult question, and I think the previous posters did a good job trying to define what is a rather wide range of beliefs within folks who call themselves progressive Christians. I will also try by putting in my two cents.  First, I may be approaching progressive Christianity from a slightly different perspective than many of the others.  This is because I come out of, and remain a practicing member of, the Catholic Church.  Many Progressives come out of the Protestant tradition.  Remarkably though, Progressive Christianity from both Catholic and Protestant perspectives looks very similar.  In fact, we probably would do better dividing Christianity into Progressive and Traditionalist wings, as well as points in between.  This seems better than the old Catholic/Protestant divide.  So, given the diversity within Progressive Christianity, one important feature is tolerance for a wide range of views, and this may be because we feel spirituality, or the ability for humans to experience sacredness in their lives, is a universal property of human beings, and that doctrines are approximations of this experience in words, and often sung or constructed in poetry, liturgy, etc.    We tolerate diversity (and even multiple narratives) in our religious texts the same way most people are able to tolerate diversity in art.  Religion and art are very similar, ask any true artist.  It's not a question of having absolute truth, which can be defined verbally in an exact way.  What we have are our sung experiences, our edifices so to speak, but which are dramatizing for us our sacred encounters, and which affect us in a positive transformative way which alters our actions and behaviors toward the needs of others.  Progressives are Christians because they come out of existing Christian assemblies, and share as their groundwork the whole body of texts that their earlier Christian ancestors left them, and which we current Christians are continuing to create.  We may interpret them in light of modern day paradigms, but we are using and grounding ourselves normatively in these traditions.  As Grandpa stated so well above many progressives do not interpret the following literally: The Virgin Birth, perhaps even the historicity of Jesus, the Resurrection in a corporeal sense, sacrificial atonement, hell and heaven as real places with distant locations, etc.  Instead, we can work mythologically or proclaim that the sonship Jesus experienced with his Father is indeed what marked him as a deeply authentic religious voice, and led him to deep insight into the needs of human beings expressed in his life, death and resurrection (whatever this was), and that this sonship (or daughtership) is available to us as humans too, and that our connection to Jesus in our liturgy and personal spirituality, and in the Christian community leads us toward greater spiritual development, and that we can indeed be called the Body of Christ, so certainly in that sense we can speak of a living, resurrected Jesus in our midst today.  So I hope I have added to an understanding of Progressive Christianity.

Peace, Dave

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7 years ago  ::  Nov 04, 2010 - 7:17PM #12
Posts: 17,597

It is 2000+ years later, has not life change drastically in those 2000 years to OP question.

Beliefnet Community Wide Moderator ~ Peace Love Stardove

People change for two main reasons: either their minds have been opened or their hearts have been broken.

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7 years ago  ::  Nov 11, 2010 - 6:51PM #13
Posts: 916

The "progress" that is needed in Christianity if to give up the literal notion of correctness in the bible, and instead to work very hard at digging out the message, the intent that Jesus was trying to get across.

Try approaching the scriptures with a much higher consciousness.   

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