How Progressive Christianity Can Save the World

Essay by Rev. Brandan Robertson on 21 November 2019 0 Comments

Christianity is inherently political. The faithful path taught and demonstrated by Jesus of Nazareth was arguably just as much a political vision for the future of the Jewish people as much as it was a path to spiritual salvation.

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Question

 
I’ve read so many books I had to stop because my head hurts. My reading has included the Bible twice from start to finish, Borg, Spong, K. Armstrong, Fox, Miles, Vosper, Felton/Murphy, Rollins, Aslan etc. I am not a scholar but was and am fascinated (Borg’s word) and driven to understand religion and my own spiritual desire. Anyway, I’m not there but have this overarching question before I continue my search.. what is God?

If the traditional theistic notion has been debunked is there one Progressive view? We all use the same word and reference to something sacred but are all of your contributors and authors sharing the same meaning? If so what is it? Are we talking about a Buddhist mental thing or some other force in the world?

Answer

 
Dear Roy,
 
Let me begin by saying that there is no “one Progressive view.” Indeed, one of the great gifts of a postmodern milieu is the freedom from a supposedly singular ahistorical perspective that dominates and devalues all others. That said, I believe there are common dimensions to a Progressive view: there is the inclusion of human experience both personally (phenomenology, psychodynamics)  and communally (cultural studies), with all the incredible diversity that it necessarily embraces; there is also the integration of the complexity of various systems in and through which life unfolds. For myself, the existential longing within the Progressive view and what motivates my endless curiosity is the desire to know what is true about our experiences of Reality.

Each author you cite has their own perspective and contribution to make to human spiritual inquiry. Freed from doctrinal blinders, what I find common to many, if not most of them, is the realization that Being is the Ground of what is Really Real. Being is not a mental category but the true nature of all that is. How that is so, well that is our amazing question. In many ways, Heidegger was correct – all roads of inquiry of what makes life possible lead to the exploration of Being.

You speak of being “driven to understand religion and [your] own spiritual desire.” That is your starting place, that is your path. In your desire is your longing to realize your oneness with Being and that longing is your light, and it eschews ready-made answers. For me, no other question stirs the courageous human soul as the search for the true meaning of Being in our life. This is because “soul” is simply a word to describe Being manifesting as you, me, and every other phenomenon we encounter. The mystery is even deeper, because we can come to realize that we are Being. To come to know the true nature of ourself is to come to know Being. One of the gifts of Buddhism is that it always refers us back to the exploration of our own experience, our own sense of fascination, our own desire to understand. It wisely invites us to trust that to search for God is to explore Being, which means to be endlessly curious about your own soul’s journey.

~ Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D.

 

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