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On Progressive Christianity

Let me start off by saying that I hate labels. Let me also say that I consider myself a progressive Christian. It became apparent to me last night that different people have different ideas of what progressive Christianity means. I didn’t mention when I wrote about my experience at counterculture that I felt that it was a tid bit on the conservative side. I guess I described it to some as being “bible-thumpy.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the Good Book. I just have had experiences with people throwing things in my face or in some of my friend’s faces that has left a really bad aftertaste in my mouth. If there is one thing that I think scripture should not be used for… it is to demonize others. I decided to look at this experience positively and say that God probably placed me into the situation with more scripture than I am used to in order to open my life to more scripture. After all, I know where I stand on things and perhaps I can open some minds to some different points of view.

So back to being progressive… first off, like I mentioned, I do not think that the Bible should be a tool to oppress others. There are so many other horrible ways of oppression out there that the Bible should certainly not be one of them. Jesus was a constant advocate for the oppressed, fighting against the oppressors silently and skillfully. Admitting that I am not perfect is another thing that I think is important to furthering ourselves as Christians. There are so many churches these days that have picture perfect people that seem to make no mistakes. Without being real with one another, we are lying. Without admitting and owning up to our mistakes, we cannot move to being right with God. We are human… we should act like it. The most important piece for me in all of my thoughts about being a Christian and Christianity is social justice. I am constantly in awe of the works and actions of Jesus Christ. My passion has driven me to this position and place in my life, and I regularly meet Christians who attend church on Sunday morning and yet do nothing for anyone else the whole week. Perhaps they even attend a bible study on Wednesday mornings and even tithe…. these things are all important yes. I myself am committed to doing these three things while here and beyond. But I feel that I am nothing unless I am giving back to others. Jesus’ ministry was a ministry of giving. Giving without hesitation, giving without ceasing.

Matthew 25:35-46

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

The purpose of this post tonight didn’t turn out how I started with it, but I think it is important nonetheless. We are called to care for others. As we move on into this time and place, I see this reality as imperative to the progression of humanity.

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Hi Laurabean! I miss you! Hope everything is going well :)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 AM  

Hi Laura,

Wonderful Blog site, pics and your reflections. Keep up the good work!

John W.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:07 AM  

Hi Laura!
I am not surprised to hear you say that your blog didn't turn out as you had intended. When you said something about people meaning different things about progressive, I thought we were in for where do you stand on gay marriage and abortion and globalization and free market capitalism and the green party and whatever else.

I'll leave you to wonder where I stand on those issues, but I agree, 100% with your post. If I read your blog correctly, the people you were referring to--the ones who go to church, maybe even study they bible, and maybe even tithe, but who don't get the whole part about loving God through serving others and who don't actively seek a just world where God's providential design is lived out--those are the people that are loving referred to as "Jesus and me Christians" around the Saint Xavier Campus. SXU was definitely considerd progressive, and social justice and catholic social teaching were stressed a lot. Perhaps to the extent that the personal relationship with Jesus--which is very important--was minimized. Finding balance is definitely important. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job!

By Anonymous Jenny, at 11:03 PM  

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