Link love: Progressive Christianity

As part of my quest to re-consider Christianity as a possible spiritual home for me, I have been doing a lot of reading blogs and articles from writers who identify as Progressive Christians because this is such a different way of viewing Christianity (compared to what I grew up with) that it often seems like a different religion altogether. I am finding hope within Progressive Christianity that this could be a way for my to re-claim my faith in a context that does that violate my intellectual integrity and my values.

I’ve come across several resources in the last couple of weeks that have been a huge help to me, so I wanted to share them in case they’d be helpful to others who may be on a similar journey.

Brad Duncan at the Grace Emerges blog wrote a post called Hello Evangelicals! designed as an explanation to mainstream evangelical Christians about what Progressive Christians believe. I really appreciated the fact that his list of characteristics of progressive Christianity was designed as a bridge builder. There is acknowledgment throughout his piece of the possible sticking points for evangelicals without being judgmental of either point of view. This post was very helpful in clarifying for me the key points of difference between evangelicals and progressives (in a big picture generalization kind of way, of course) that gave me some mental boundaries to put around the term “progressive” for my own understanding.

Along similar lines, Tony Jones recently offered a challenge to progressive theo-bloggers to write about God. He claims that progressives tend to talk a lot about “social issues, the church, culture and society,” but they don’t give treat of God as much time and attention. There was an outpouring of blogs in response that he has collected on Storify in A Progressive God. I haven’t had time yet to make it through all of the viewpoints included here, but the ones that I have read cover a range of opinion and theology and have given me a great deal to consider about what God might look like within this new kind of Christianity that I am exploring.

Finally, I came across two different blog posts where progressive Christians of different stripes shared their thoughts about why they are Christians, even when they disagree with the version of Christianity that is popularly presented in our culture today. The first one I read was by Christian Piatt on his Father, Son, and Holy Heretic blog on Patheos. His post was called Why Am I a Christian? This was written in response to being asked this question after he challenged a number of Christian clichés that he didn’t agree with. He shares candidly what parts of the standard Christian theology he doesn’t agree with and what he does believe that keeps him within the Christian fold.

The second one was shared with me in a comment to a blog post I wrote recently. This one is by Dr. Bruce Arnold, a Quaker minister and social worker, from his Letters from the Street blog and is entitled Why I Call Myself a Christian. This is a very thoughtful explanation of his beliefs and why those beliefs lead him to consider himself a Christian, despite having disagreements with the popular and more conservative version of Christianity most often heard about in this country.

Both of these personal statements encouraged me because I found myself agreeing with most of what each of them had to say. I think a day will come when my thinking will be clear enough to be able to write a similar statement of my own. For now, though, I will lean on their greater experience and find comfort in knowing that there are others who have dealt with these same questions and have discovered a way for themselves to remain Christians without accepting the standard party line.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

10 thoughts on “Link love: Progressive Christianity

  1. A book you may find interesting is Thomas Moore’s The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Living, which can be found in most public libraries. Moore is a married, Episcopalian priest if I remember correctly but his writing of God’s presence in our world is beautiful. In particular, he writes about the loss of a natural religion, and I was reminded of his words in reading your post.


    • Thanks so much for the recommendation, Karen. I’ve seen that one and thought it looked interesting, but I haven’t actually read it yet. I’ll have to move up on my reading list!

  2. Thanks, K.J., for your generous sharing and uncommonly honest self-appraisal. Outside of the confessional or the therapist’s couch, one rarely gets to see the up-close-and-personal details of another’s journey to wholeness.

    • Thanks so much, Bruce. I suppose this is my therapist’s couch in a way because the act of sharing publicly requires me to bring a level of honesty to my self-appraisal that would be easy to hedge on with more private writing. I’m glad you are finding benefit in my sharing of my journey. Blessings!

  3. As you are exploring ways to care for humanity and lead a meaningful life while also retaining your intellectual integrity and values …

    please consider doing without Christianity, and all the problems associated with trying to make an ancient – often barbaric – religion work in today’s society.

    You can be a good person and have a fulfilling life without God:

    • I agree that I can be a good person and have a fulfilling life without God, and I have considered that option. However, I still feel so much inward prompting towards Christianity that I believe that I am well served by attempting to find a way that I can embrace the portions of Christianity that are most Christ-like, while rejecting those that are not. I may be wrong, and I may ultimately discover that my path lies elsewhere, but there does still seem to be something for me to learn from this journey in re-defining Christianity in a more Christ-like way (as I understand it). Thanks so much for the comment, Beau! I appreciate your thoughts on this.

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  5. HI KJ.
    Your blog came up in the plugin (Zemanta) that I use to find related articles for my posts, and I’m very glad that it did. As others have noted, your writing is honest, insightful, and, to me, a great reflection of the journey so many of us are on. I’ve added Journey Through the Chrysalis to my links and I hope that you won’t mind if I reference other articles of yours. Please feel free to drop by Seems Like God and feel free to leave a comment or say hi in email.

    • Thank you, David! I am grateful for your kind words about my writing, and you are more than welcome to reference my posts as you wish. I’ve done a little reading on your site and have added it to my RSS reader. I appreciate having another progressive Christian voice to learn from! I particularly love the Statement of Affirmation that you have posted on your site. That is just beautiful! Thanks again for the comment, and I look forward to continued conversation here and/or on your blog.

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