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Progressive Christianity

TCPC's eight points. Crosswalk America
trek. Groups, networks, websites, etc.

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The TCPC's Eight Points:

The Center for Progressive Christianity (TCPC) 1 is one of the leading groups promoting a network of progressive Christians.

Their eight points are a series of ideas that describe the TCPC's approach to Christianity. 2 It is not a statement of faith or creed. It is more a description of how Progressive Christians approach life. They are paraphrased below for brevity and to avoid copyright conflicts:

  1. Focus: The teachings and life of Jesus provide them with a path to God.
  2. Pluralism: They recognize that others follow their own paths to God which are equally true for them.
  3. Communion: They view the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus' name to represent "an ancient vision of God's feast for all peoples."
  4. Inclusivity: All are welcome to become involved; persons of all genders, sexual orientations, traditions, races, etc.
  5. Reciprocity: How we treat others is the "fullest expression" of our beliefs.
  6. Search: They find more grace in searching for truth than in accepting certainty.
  7. Community: They form communities to support each other in their quest for peace, justice, a restored environment, and to provide hope.
  8. Cost: Following Jesus involves a personal investment in "selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege."

The Progressive Christian symbol is an eight-pointed star, representing these eight ideas that they hold in common. It is unrelated to the twelve-pointed star that appears in the ReligiousTolerance.org logo at the top of each page on our website.

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The Crosswalk America trek of 2006:

A group called "Crosswalk America" started walking at Phoenix, AZ on 2006-APR-16, and ended in Washington DC on SEP-03. They are progressive Christians who were publicizing what they refer to as the "Phoenix Affirmations:"

bulletChristians must have an openness to other faiths
bulletChristians must care for the earth and its ecosystem
bulletChristians must value artistic expression in all its forms
bulletChristians must welcome and include all persons
bulletChristians must oppose the co-mingling of Church and State
bulletChristians must seek peace and end systemic poverty
bulletChristian must promote the values of rest and recreation, prayer and reflection
bulletChristians must embrace both faith and science.

Eric Elnes has written a book on titled "Phoneix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity." Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com

In the words of Episcopal Bishop J.S. Spong:
"Their desire was to turn the present course of Christianity in America away from its divisive pro-war, anti-female, anti-gay public face, where those who disagree are relegated to an emotional status somewhere between being excommunicated and burned at the stake, to a religion identified with the words 'love' and 'inclusion.' In every community entered across this nation, these walkers went to the local churches, identified themselves and shared their message. They worshiped in all kinds of settings, deliberately including the most fundamentalist. One was called 'The Jesus Baptist Church' in Springerville, Texas, that stated publicly their belief in the inerrancy of the Bible and the sinfulness of homosexuality, but they also worshiped in a Metropolitan Community Church in New Mexico, that was organized just for homosexual people who had been forced out of their churches by religious and biblical prejudice." 3,4

The Christian Left:

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA described progressive Christianity in an article titled "A voice from the Christian Left:"

"Many on the Christian Right are fond of posing the question WWJD?-- What would Jesus do? I’d like to remind them what Jesus DID do:

He cared for the poor.

He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery.

He prayed alone.

He commanded us to love our enemies.

He preached peace.

He ate, drank, and lived with ‘tax collectors and sinners’ -- the lowlifes and outcasts of his day, while reserving his condemnation for the religious leaders who, from a place of privilege, imposed their legalism and literalism on the people they were responsible for leading.

He told his disciples not to oppose the healing work of those outside the ranks of his followers.

And again and again he reminded us to care for the poor. (That moral issue gets more air time than any other in the gospels: 1 verse in 9.)

If Christians concerned about how to respond to the grave global issues facing us all were to reread the Gospels for guidance, I think we’d find some pretty clear indications there about what Jesus would do ... and what he wouldn’t. (One of the few bumper stickers I’ve been tempted to affix to my still undecorated car in recent months reads ‘Who would Jesus bomb?’)" 5

Rev.Scotty McLennan of "Jesus was a liberal" wrote:

"We are the religious left. But what do we stand for?...

The Bible is meant to be read largely metaphorically and allegorically, rather than literally.

Science and religion are compatible;

We are committed to the use of logic, reason, and the scientific method.

Doubt is the handmaiden of faith.

Love is the primary Christian value, and it is directly related to the promotion of liberty and justice in society at large.

All people are inherently equal and worthy of dignity and respect.

Free religious expression should be governmentally protected, but no particular tradition should be established as the state religion.

There are many roads to the top of the spiritual mountain, and Christianity is only one of them. Interfaith understanding and tolerance are critical.

We see Jesus primarily as a spiritual and ethical teacher and less as being identical with God.

Living a fulfilled and ethical life here and now is more important than speculating on what happens to us after we die.

Nonviolence is strongly preferred in relationships between human beings, groups, and nations.

Women and men must play an equal role in religious leadership." 6

horizontal rule

Local groups, national and regional networks, web sites, etc:

bulletUnited States:
bulletThe Center for Progressive Christianity has a web site at: http://www.tcpc.org/

bulletA listing of local groups in the U.S. is maintained by the Center for Progressive Christianity. See: http://www.tcpc.org/

bulletA listing of regional networks in the U.S. is also maintained by the Center. See: http://www.tcpc.org/

bulletThe Institute for Progressive Christianity is at: http://www.instituteforprogressivechristianity.org

bulletProgressive Christians Uniting is at: http://www.progressivechristiansuniting.org

bulletProgressive Christian Witness is at: http://www.progressivechristianwitness.org
 
bulletCanada:
bulletThe Canadian Center for Progressive Christianity has a web site at http://www.progressivechristianity.ca  It has links to groups, resources, events, etc.
 
bulletUK:
bulletThe Progressive Christianity Network for Great Britain and Ireland has a web site at: http://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/
 
bulletAustralia:
bulletThe Centre for Progressive Religious Thought at: http://www.progressivereligion.org.au/
 
bulletA portal which provides access to all of the Progressive Christianity web sites was located at: http://www.progressivechristianity.net It links to web sites in Britain, Canada Ireland, New Zealand, South Australia and the United States.
 
bulletBlogShares has a list of the top 100 blogs dealing with Progressive Christianity at: http://blogshares.com/
 
bulletBeliefnet has a forum on Progressive Christianity at: http://www.beliefnet.com/
 
bulletReligion Dispatches "... is a daily online magazine dedicated to the analysis and understanding of religious forces in the world today, highlighting a diversity of progressive voices and aimed at broadening and advancing the public conversation." See: http://www.religiondispatches.org/

References:

  1. Progressive Christianity movement's home page is at: http://www.tcpc.org/ Their address is The Center for Progressive Christianity, 4916 Pt. Fosdick Dr., NW  #148, Gig Harbor, WA  98335. Telephone: 253-303-0022. E-mail: center@tcpc.org
  2. "The 8 points: 2003 version," at: http://www.tcpc.org/
  3. J.S. Spong, "Crosswalk America Arrives in Washington, DC," A New Christianity for a New World newsletter, 2006-SEP-13.
  4. "Change the face of Christianity in America," Crosswalk America, at: http://crosswalkamerica.org/
  5. "The Christian Left welcomes you," at: http://www.thechristianleft.org/
  6. Rev. Scotty McLellan, "Jesus was a liberal," at: http://liberaldevotional.com/

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Copyright © 2003 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-SEP-28
Latest update: 2010-NOV-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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