Friday, July 31, 2015

Are the Progressives Christians changing the faith?

Two essays, worth your attention. 

 Brian McLaren writes on the conversion to progressive Christianity:
I believe that progressive Christians are not merely proposing superficial and incremental changes. I believe we are proposing profound and even epochal changes. In my current writing project (Converting Christianity), I refer to them as conversions.

First is the conversion to centering Christian faith in a way of life rather than a system of beliefs.... 
If the first conversion is ecclesial (having to do with congregational and denominational life), the second is theological: a conversion from a violent, exclusive, Supreme Being to a Loving, Inclusive Spirit of Justice, Joy, and Peace.....
The third conversion incorporates the ecclesial and theological conversions into a missional conversion: from an "organized religion" to an "organizing religion."...
This third conversion will be manifest as progressive Christians stop complaining about how their conservative counterparts are so well organized for bad purposes, and instead get organized themselves — for good purposes and with a good spirit.
IS this a battle between conservative and liberal wings? Are they really different?  McLaren again:
Conservative wings believe that we're sliding down a slippery slope into a dark and dangerous future, so we should hold on to what remains from better days in the past and resist change.

Progressive wings believe that we slid down a slippery slope long ago and are in the process of climbing to a better place, so we should develop prophetic imagination that gives us a vision for desirable change that we pursue creatively.
 Drew Downs sees Progressive Christians as a sleeping giant.
The mainline has played the sleeping giant, refusing to be roused,.....

Or perhaps it is that the sleeping giant is slow to wake, roused decades ago and much slower to get to its feet, harder to rein in, and impossible to stop.

And maybe, just maybe, they are right to name the giant, the true giant of transformation; that it isn’t the mainline churches themselves, but the progressive ethic and theological awakening many in the mainline have embraced. For it is the giant itself, rather than its churches that conservative Christians fear.
He finishes by considering the politics
Conservative evangelicals are right: a more powerful and transformative faith is being born. A faith that is eager to include us all. But it won’t. Because I suspect that many hate the thought of losing more than they like the thought of sharing in winning.

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