Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Problems with a lot of Progressive/Liberal Christianity...

There are a great many problems with a great many things. I don't like to pretend that life is otherwise. However, this does not give us a free pass to just ignore things we might make better. I have noticed that progressive/liberal Christianity has some real problems. These are not problems with the concept (as I would generally put myself in this category), but rather how it is done. I have noticed that progressive Christians tend not to proselytize. I have a problem with that. If your message is not worth sharing, then perhaps it is not worth having. I see so many places in our society and in other societies around the world where this theology is really needed. Progressives are really good at working through government agencies and NGO's to take care of needy communities at home and abroad, but as soon as it stabilizes there; then the really conservative movements come through and dominate. They bring with them their messages of religious fundamentalism and quite a few bring intolerance for various people groups, religious ideas, and political ideas. This is not good.
This issue with communication can also be seen by the fact that most of the progressive churches I know reach out to poor communities and serve poor communities, but do not articulate a theology that can reach people of different educational backgrounds. Trying to find the (please do not freak out at this term) fundamentals or core principles or testimonies of progressive Christianity and articulating them to these broad communities in simple terms is imperative if we wish to actually see the movement embrace the people we are trying to help. I am not asking the movement to abandon scholarship, but reaching out to people with a powerful message and doing it in various stages of simplicity and complexity is really needed in the movement.
We need to also find a way to speak of a compelling theology to go with our (self-proclaimed) "prophetic" stances on social issues. This is where a good liturgy can come in. These are just some thoughts that have been kicking around in my mind. I am not by any means trying to start a competition for souls with the right wingers in religion, but I think that if we really believe that our message is actually good for our communities and for the world, perhaps we should spreading the gospel more intentionally insted of waiting on people to just walk up and find us. Communities are hurting and need what we have to offer socially and spiritually. I think we need to do some more work on the latter. Thoughts?

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