Friday, July 20, 2007

Whither the Progressive Church (question or answer)

For most Americans, Christianity has become synonymous with a particular legalistic, conservative, evangelical movement whose vocal, media-savvy leaders are quick to condemn anyone who sees the world differently than they do.
Gays and other sexual minorities? An abomination. Women? Remain silent and “gracefully submissive,” in the words of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jews? In need of salvation. Feminists, lesbians, the ACLU, People for the American Way? Responsible for September 11, according to Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell.
At a meeting of conservative Presbyterians a while back, one speaker said that liberals were like bugs devouring the foundation of the church. He called for stomping as the appropriate response to such an infestation. I’m not sure, but I believe they broke into a spontaneous version of “Guide My Feet” at that point!
In the face of such attacks from some conservatives and such widespread ignorance from the population as a whole, we have to ask: is there a future for progressive Christianity?
As for me, I firmly believe and have dedicated my own life to the conviction that God is calling forth a progressive, inclusive, engaged, diverse church upon which to build the beloved community. Now this future remains to be worked out in our living together as church.
Yes, there is a future. But whether it is a future of exile, decline, death and memorial stones or a future of foundation stones and building together and vibrant worship and call and response … remains to be worked out in our living together as church.
Just a thought from summer vacationland.

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