I did a search on “Progressive Christianity” last night, and I was amazed at how little the term has to do with Walter Rauschenbusch or Friedrich Schleiermacher. On the first Google page, I found sites that embedded themselves with “Progressive,” while they touted the inerrancy of Scripture. Same thing over at the iTunes store. The podcasts revealed the same phenomenon.
So what does “progressive” mean now? Does “progressive” simply mean that you have cool graphics? That you’re culturally progressive? That you meet in a theater instead of a sanctuary?
What about the progressives who have a commitment to feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, seeking social justice, and welcoming all people? What about the religious activists whom we could always count on to raise our country’s consciousness about a host of things, including women’s rights (okay, so Walter’s record’s not so clean on that account) and the environment? What about that great Protestant tradition which has been doing these things in our country for centuries?
Have we lost our name to some culturally savvy fundamentalists who own a Mac, and happen to know what to do with it? Are they embedding our name because they know that most twenty-somethings are much more politically progressive? And, how weird is it that I have to find out what a term means in our culture by googling it? Was that even a verb ten years ago?
It reminds me of the college student who said, “I used to go to a really conservative church, and now I’m going to a really liberal one.” She used to attend a traditional UCC congregation, and she began attending a very conservative Evangelical church…with a band.
Alright. It’s World Communion Sunday. Enough of this “us against them” rant. It’s not about that. Especially today.
photo’s by Martin Krzywinski