Building a “beloved community” is an act of radical inclusion - Part 2

Essay by Rev. Irene Monroe on 19 July 2018 3 Comments

If Apostle Paul were alive today I know he would be apoplectic with rage by how Sessions used his sacred text. Apostle Paul was about building a beloved community, evident in his writing in Ephesians 2: 15, 19-22.

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What are your thoughts about where progressive Christianity is going from here? In some groups I find it barely different than other evangelical sects, and other expressions seem to feel completely new-age without hardly a remnant of Christianity.


Dear John,

I very much understand that perspective John. Over my time in progressive Christianity, especially over the past decade, I have seen it trend from a more mature and academically advanced group of people, into a much broader type of “Evangelical Lite,” where the defining tenets are to lean Democrat, sympathize with gay rights, and reject the idea of an eternal hell. But if you suggest something like the resurrection of Jesus as non-historical, some people still tend struggle with that and want you to leave Christianity all together.

As progressive Christianity has absorbed the Emergent label it has inherited a tension between those two macro factions. Mainly, those who still see Jesus as ontologically unique in comparison to every other human ever to live — and those who don’t. Those who lean very progressive are sometimes feeling pushed out and unwelcome within the big tent they founded as their sanctuary from closed-mindedness. And those who are less progressive are wanting to draw some lines within that sanctuary and ensure that other progressives don’t dismantle Christianity to a point that is unrecognizable to them.

I think that path of evolution will continue to take its course. Only time will tell whether we tend toward a huge tent that meets the needs of most left-leaning Jesus followers, or whether progressive Christianity stays true to its roots as a very theologically progressive bastion that explores beyond the boundaries of mainstream Christianity. My bet is that the big tent will prevail and that those who originally labeled as progressive Christians will become so uncomfortable that they will explore the next things (as I have begun to do with Jesism). My hope however is that as the new breed of progressives come into the fold they become humbled enough to learn from the veterans who have spent years studying and wrestling with this stuff.

~ Eric Alexander




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