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The Founding Fathers of the United States are often referred to as a mixture of anti-clerical Christians (i.e. religious free-thinkers) and deists. In many ways, we might think of them all as laying the groundwork for what is now referred to as the Progressive Christianity movement---for they were leaders who possessed a solid sense of reason that was guided by an understanding of...

Lately there has been a lot of talk about a "crisis" in Progressive Christianity and whether or not the Progressive Christian movement is dead in the water. Critics claim that new seminary graduates are ill-prepared to lead today's generation and that new "paradigms" need to be developed. Some progressive ministers are even abandoning the Christian cloak altogether to become "independent" spiritual leaders....

The Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran is best known for his elegant and moving book The Prophet. But Gibran produced many other works during his short life, which ended in 1931. Since his death, Gibran has inspired countless spiritual progressives, including artists like John Lennon who paraphrased Gibran's famous verse, "Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the...

Spiritual Progressives who have studied some Eastern philosophy are no doubt familiar with Lao Tzu, whose book the Tao Te Ching (The Way of Nature & Its Power) established the religion of Taoism. Not so many though are familiar with the second great teacher of Taoism, Chuang Tzu, who more than anyone preserved Taoism from the encroachments of Confucianism. One of the...

In an earlier post, we quoted the progressive Christian Leo Tolstoy as saying that we all can wake up to a real, happy, and peaceful life, as it exists in our consciences (God's Kingdom within), if we just make the moral effort. That was easy for him to say. While Tolstoy might have inspired Martin Luther King and Gandhi with such words, few...

The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy is a monumental figure in the world of literature. His epic novel War and Peace is unrivaled in its breadth and scope. But Tolstoy was more than just a fiction writer. He was a keen observer of the human condition and arguably the most progressive Christian in Russia during the 19th and early 20th century. His later...

In today's online issue of Salon.com there is an interesting interview with Robert Wright, a well-known American journalist. Wright is the author of a new book "The Evolution of God," which approaches its subject from the logical standpoint that, more often than not, we have created our Gods to match our own evolving self-image and needs. Wright refers to himself as a materialist...

Continuing with our theme of cultural evolution and the long arc of the moral universe, we turn to the subject of the evolution of Christianity, Religion, and Christian thought. For insight we go to another progressive figure who long has been forgotten by many: British historian Henry Thomas Buckle, who arguably was the first scientific analyzer of social evolution. Like the Unitarian...

Readers of LivingHour.org have noticed that we cast a pretty wide net when talking about Progressive Christianity and the works of Progressive Christians. In our writings we include people who've never identified themselves as Christians, much less Progressive Christians. Indeed we've even included atheists, like Albert Camus, among our sources of Progressive Christian inspiration. Although our definition of a Progressive Christian may seem a...

Back in  2009, it was with great hope and interest that Progressive Christians were watching the political protests in Iran. At that time, a public address by Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri to the Iranian people was striking in its honesty. In his letter Ayatollah Montazeri slammed the regime for its astonishingly violent attempts to purge dissent, and its illegitimate arrests of...

When the Zen scholar Daisetz (D.T.) Suzuki was asked what it was like to have satori, he said: "Well, it's like ordinary, everyday experience, except about two inches off the ground." This kind of experience isn't something we usually associate with Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet with his feet firmly rooted to the ground on which we walk, and who we like...

When they had almost reached Jerusalem, having come as far as Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent on two disciples. 2 "Go to the village facing you," he said, "and you will immediately find a donkey tethered, with a foal by her side; untie her, and lead her here for me. 3 And, if anyone says anything to you, you are...

The 14th century German vicar Meister Eckhart was in many ways a 21st century Progressive Christian. Although highly educated and an admirer of Thomas Aquinus, Eckhart also realized the limits of formal education, once telling the Paris elite that not one person among them could conceive with all their learning what God was in the meanest creature, not even in a fly. An indomitable...

 Jesus said to his disciples: “It is inevitable that there should be snares; yet woe to you who is answerable for them! 2 It would be better for you to be flung into the sea with a mill-stone round your neck, than that you should prove a snare to even one of these lowly ones. 3 Be on your guard! If your brother...

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there, known by the name of Zacchaeus, who was a commissioner of taxes and a rich man. 3 He tried to see what Jesus was like; but, being short, he was unable to do so because of the crowd. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed into...

Years ago in an interview with Vanity Fair, Johnny Depp aligned himself by association with the likes of Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan, Hunter S. Thompson, and especially Marlon Brando, who (like Depp) once owned an island. One thing that celebrities share with regular folks is that we all like to associate ourselves with people whom we admire, and fancy the notion that we're...

The Catholic writer Graham Greene famously summed up his life as a search for "Ways of Escape." He said that his abundant writing and travels were simply a means to escape the panic fear, madness, and melancholia of contemporary life. Green's life summation goes a long way in helping to explain some events found in the canonical Gospels of Jesus the Christ. It often...

Whenever we at the Living Hour think about Russia and the Lord's Prayer, we can't help but also think about the work of Leo Tolstoy. You are likely familiar with Tolstoy's epic novel War & Peace, which many consider the best novel ever written. What you may not know is that Tolstoy is also a prominent figure in the history of progressive Christianity, having...

In our SBNR motivational about William Blake and seeing Heaven in a Wildflower, we talked about the transcendent personality of Jesus Christ and how that should be one of our goals as Progressive Christians (or as Sons and Daughters of God, regardless of our religious persuasion). Some readers have interpreted this motivational to imply that we advocate the building of personal legends ala...

In today's Living Hour post, we are going to share a translation of the Lord's Prayer into Portuguese. In Portugal, the Lord's Prayer is known as the "Pai Nosso" (Our Father) prayer. Among Catholics, Portugal is well-known as the country of "Our Lady of Fátima," which refers to apparitions of the Virgin Mary which appeared to three, poor shepherd children (Lúcia Santos and...

Originally published in 1989, The New Zealand Prayer Book (created by the Anglican Church in Aotearoa) was re-published in a new version by Harper Collins in 1997. This prayer book was celebrated by clergy and lay people alike for the way it combined the traditional Anglican prayers and forms of worship with the rich earth-based spirituality of the Maori and other Pacific Island...

Renowned architect and futurist Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) was widely recognized for his unique blend of philosophical fringe-thinking, which combined a love for science with a mystical vision of life and the universe. Fuller once pointed out that legendary scientists like Galileo and Kepler had been excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church as “heretics” for abandoning the idea of an anthropomorphic God (i.e....

In the latest e-bulletin from The Center for Progressive Christianity, President Fred Plumer includes some letters sent by readers. One writer says that the members of his liberal community have "long ago opted out of the Christian cultural-linguistic game altogether and have become either Epicurean Gourmands, Secular Humanists, Process New Thought, Global Mystics, Unitarian Universalists, or else they define themselves as Unaffiliated...

Saint Thomas Aquinas can certainly be considered among the Progressive Christians of his era, and is admired for the manner in which he attempted to synthesize the philosophy and ideas of Aristotle with the principles of Christianity. Thomas Aquinas also wrote on a wide variety of subjects involving psychology and the human spirit, including the goal of the artist, stating that the test of...

C. S. Lewis (1898 – 1963) was a novelist, poet, and academic, who is well known for his work The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis also wrote extensively on topics related Christianity, including miracles and the problem of pain---the most famous work in this genre being The Screwtape Letters. Baptized in the Church of Ireland, Lewis fell away from his faith in his teens. However,...