After reading a post by religion writer, Becky Garrison, I decided it’s time I chime in on the subject of “Progressive Christianity.” This is going to be short and probably not-so-sweet commentary because there’s something rising up inside of me that has to do with newness and perhaps new wine in old wineskins, to draw from the Bible (gasp!)
I propose, right from the start, that what we are attempting to do by marrying two ideas such as “progressive” and “Christian” is already an unequally-yolked union destined for divorce court. Perhaps we are guilty of trying to mix oil and water and calling it wine!
I know, my Christian readers furrow their brows and my atheist readers cheers. I’m openly torn on the subject. I mean, isn’t progressive Christian an oxymoron? (Who you calling a moron?) But then again, wasn’t Jesus a progressive force to be reckoned with, challenging the religious leaders, political leaders and anyone who came in his path to think outside of the “status quo?” Wasn’t Jesus one of the most progressive people of his time and of any age?
As always, my jury is still out, especially because it is comprised of a group of peers who do identify as progressive Christians and that identity seems to be serving them quite well.
But as I read the post that describes how once again Sojourner’s Magazine a “progressive Christian” organization (ahem, business) falls short of being progressive in their treatment of LGBTQ concerns, we have several options. We can do as Ms. Garrison suggests and develop new labels for groups like this. Perhaps “traditionalist progressives” is a working option or maybe we need to go back to the drawing board…
And make a distinction not between progressive and conservative but authentic versus inauthentic.
I hate labels as next as the next Homospiritual Lesbian Hippie Wanna-Be but if we do require labels in order to maintain a conversation, know where someone is coming from and identify obstacles to understanding, let’s go with authentic vs. inauthentic.
Christianity that excludes, promotes division and moves us towards external conflict rather is inauthentic.
Christianity that includes, promotes understanding and draws us towards internal revelation, consciousness and action is authentic.
Let’s try those on for a bit and see how it goes.
I may not be able to prove it’s what Jesus would do, what Paul would say or what the Pope may approve of but it’s what Gail is going to try…
Maybe the people at Sojourner’s are more comfortable with the “journey” they are on but I wager that not only will business be affected by their policies, flip-flopping and inauthentic expression of Christianity, the people there will begin to listen to the stories of their friends and family members and refuse to work for an organization that doesn’t welcome all, no exceptions.
That’s my creative activism today: I’m sitting with the workers at Sojourners… all of them. We are having a sit-in and we are going on strike because FAMILY matters and inclusion is the only model of family worth emulating.
To read Becky Garrison’s article, go here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/what-to-call-progressive-christian-who-struggle-with-lgbt-equality/2011/08/19/gIQA6J9VQJ_blog.html