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Switch to Forum Live View What is the Essence of Progressive Christianity?
6 years ago  ::  Feb 02, 2008 - 6:02PM #1
Ancestral
Posts: 153
What is the Essence of Progressive Christianity?
by David Salyers

Unfortunately, as progressive Christians, we get caught up in the trap of focusing on the intellectual and academic aspects of our faith in order to justify ourselves from charges from our more traditional, conservative, and evangelical brothers and sisters that we are not "truly" Christian. The essence of true progressive Christianity is very simple and the Good News of the Gospel can be understood by even a child.

Our focus is on following Jesus as Lord which means following the radical grace of his Great Commandment - "Love God and Love one another" rather than Pharisee-style legalism.

In one of the most defining moments of his ministry, Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest. Matthew 22:36-39 “[Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

In the Gospel of John, he reclarified the Great Commandment. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). Or as I like to put it - Love God through loving others in the same spirit as God's love for you.

A central tenet to our theology is the Rule of Love, which stated simply claims that if a person's actions are motivated by unselfish, sacrificial love and are not intentionally hurtful to others, such actions are in accordance with the teachings of Jesus and are, thus, lawful in the eyes of God. We reject any so-called doctrines which contradict the Great Commandment of Jesus and the Rule of Love which is how we apply it (i.e. we reject the teachings of eternal hell, a literal interpretation and inerrancy of the Bible, homophobia, etc.. which all contradict the intent or inhibit the practice of the Great Commandment).

I believe this teaching of the Great Commandment of Jesus fulfills the intent of the Golden Rule and surpasses it with the higher intent of love.

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.

The Golden Rule is best interpreted as saying: "Treat others only in ways that you're willing to be treated in the same exact situation." The Golden Rule is endorsed by all the great world religions; Jesus, Hillel, and Confucius used it to summarize their ethical teachings. You find the Golden Rule within the teachings of Wicca. "Do what you will, so long as it harms none" - the Wiccan Rede. You also find it in the foundational teaching of the Universal Life Church founded by Rev. Kirby Hensley in Modesto, CA where they state - " The Universal Life Church has no traditional doctrine. We as an organization believe in that which is right. Each individual has the privilege and responsibility to determine what is right for themselves, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others." The Golden Rule is also implied in the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism. This also demonstrates the connection and oneness that we share with the believers of other paths and the respect we should have for them.

You can find more examples of the Golden Rule here:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm

Our message is simple. Rather than focusing on what has divided us, let us focus on the essence of the Way of Jesus which is the hallmark of a Christian.

Peace be with you!
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2008 - 3:03PM #2
Bob_Bennett
Posts: 916
For me, the essence of what does it mean to be a 'progressive' rather than some other branch of Christianity is to question everything, study lots of modern writings from independent academics, be willing to disregard dogma that seems wrong, and to be very open minded about it all, while accepting Jesus as the appointed Christ Avatar for the cosmic Age of Pisces, which probably ended in the 1960s.
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6 years ago  ::  May 16, 2008 - 3:19PM #3
Peregrino
Posts: 2
[QUOTE=Bob_Bennett;329808]For me, the essence of what does it mean to be a 'progressive' rather than some other branch of Christianity is to question everything, study lots of modern writings from independent academics, be willing to disregard dogma that seems wrong, and to be very open minded about it all, while accepting Jesus as the appointed Christ Avatar for the cosmic Age of Pisces, which probably ended in the 1960s.[/QUOTE]

Christ Avatar? Age of Pisces? That's not even Christian. Progressive Christianity isn't newagey hodge-podge. Christ is a Judæo-Christian concept and avatar is a Hindu one. For Christianity, Jesus is not an avatar, he is the messiah, the anointed one of God. Calling him avatar de-judæochristianizes him and re-deifies him but in a Hindu fashion. If you're looking for an "avatar", you probably need to look in Krishna's way: THAT's an avatar! Also, Age of Psices is pagan, and Christianity is not pagan, unless you're looking to re-paganize Christianity a la gnosticism. You talk about disregarding dogma while you fit a new hindu concept on him. Next thing you know they'll be calling him an astronaut or a boddhisatva... To each his own, and both "avatara" and "christós" denaturalizes both concepts snipping them out of their conceptual contexts IMO.
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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 11:52PM #4
Dioloquese
Posts: 23
Ouch! Peregrino ... I understand the zeal -but the movement of the post brings to mind a doberman charging into a gaggle of geese.
These thoughts are at best openly debateable with those holding a different understanding and you'll get the result you want if giving you a wide birth is what you're after. Are you concerned at all that God, maker of Heaven and Earth loves each creation he's given life to? "Come let us reason together", is a reasonable starting point. Even if you may think what they believe in is unreasonable.
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