Having put forward the idea that as Progressive Christians we are all ministers, albeit in various forms, the question now follows, just what is the role of the Reverend, the Minister of the bricks and mortar church? Like other Pastors, Progressive Reverends guide religious ceremonies (such as weddings and funerals), as well as serve as spiritual counselors and community organizers of good works aimed towards those in need. But what separates them from Pastors of the religious right is the way they manage the pulpit.
In our current age of dumbing down and superficiality (where even elected officials are so self-absorbed that they feel compelled to “Twitter” their trivial thoughts and actions to the world), we need more than ever the Reverend who possesses both great erudition and an expansive soul: Pastors who are well-versed in scripture, the humanities, and the sciences, and who serve their congregations as daily conduits within which the wisdom of God and Man merges and re-emerges with strength and vitality.
Progressive Christian Reverends therefore must speak from the pulpit with more than just the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other–an image which strikes much too close to the Bible-pounding preacher of old. Instead, they should be able to move effortlessly from the Gospels, to the Talmud, to Shakespeare, to Carl Jung, to Einstein, to the Newspaper, and back again: so that the teachings of Jesus Christ are re-imagined, refashioned, and retold in ways that can inspire and challenge the mind and spirit of the contemporary parishioner: the individual upon whose shoulders the revitalization of our communities, neighborhoods, families, and sense of purpose rests.
To read our suggestions for how Progressive Christians should think about worship, please go to: How We Worship.