Lately there has been a lot of talk about a “crisis” in 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. One can’t help either being amused or depressed by all the talk, for it relates little to the kind of Christianity that Jesus taught.
The beauty of Jesus’s Christianity is that it has nothing to do with creeds and doctrines; nothing to do with seminaries or the ministers that they churn out. There are no esoteric teachings that Christians must learn, no initiations to undergo, no hoops to jump through. How we worship isn’t confined to what happens within church walls; nor is ministry restricted to the religious affairs of the clergy. The beauty of Jesus’s message is in its pure simplicity, as demonstrated in The Lord’s Prayer he taught his disciples. Living the Christian life is not rocket science.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that, though thou has hidden [the gospel] from the wise and learned, thou has revealed it unto babes” (11:25). A little later, he adds, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for it is to the childlike that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14). If we ever do see the end of Progressive Christianity, it will be because we’ve forgotten these very simple lessons.1
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- For a different perspective see Rita Nakashima-Brock’s essay “We Might Need The End of Progressive Christianity” at ReligionDispatches.org. [↩]