Who We Are


BY MICAH ROYAL

In this presentation, we will be examining the association in which I minister, the Progressive Christian Alliance. First, we will examine what the Progressive Christian Alliance is: its mission, organizational structure, ministries, and history. Then we will examine the larger Christian movement it is a part of, to help understand how the Progressive Christian Alliance fits into the larger Body of Christ.

History

Laying the foundations

 

The Progressive Christian Alliance began in the Spring of 2008, as a joint effort of the Reverends Roger Mclellan, Terry McGuire, Jarrod Cochran, and Melissa Mclellan1. In addition to these clergy leader involved in the founding of the Progressive Christian Alliance, from its outset the Progressive Christian Alliance has included lay Christians in leadership. Anna Hall, a lay leader at Virginia-Highland Church currently in doctoral studies, as well as Erin Cochran and Bill Russo, Sr (both spouses of Rev. Jarrod Cochran and Rev. Terry McGuire respectively), all were very involved in the work of laying the foundations for the Progressive Christian Alliance and were early lay representatives on the Leadership Council of the Progressive Christian Alliance2. Roger Mclellan describes the beginning of the Progressive Christian Alliance:

PCA was actually born in March of 2008 in Anniston, AL and Largo, FL- a short time later, we met Jarrod Cochran and Anna Hall and the Progressive Christian Movement, who had a nearly identical vision born in Atlanta a little while before PCA.
Within a few weeks we had agreed to merge under the Progressive Christian Alliance name. It is that merger date of May 20 2008 that we consider our birthday; as the young organizations joined forces and began to attract other crazy folks … PCM was born in late 20073”.

 

The previous Progressive Christian Movement had begun in the Atlanta, GA, area and had focused on providing networking for progressively-minded Christians of all denominational backgrounds (as well as who worked independently of denominations), providing content-rich web and print publications, providing annual get-togethers and revivals for progressive Christians, and also providing an association that can provide ordination and ministerial support for those feeling called to Christian ministry yet whose progressive theological and social justice stances make their ministries out of step with more traditional denominations4. Since the Progressive Christian Movement and Progressive Christian Alliance shared an almost identical mission and vision, upon becoming aware of each other’s ministries, the two ministries entered talks to combine their efforts which quickly developed into a merger which is now the current Progressive Christian Alliance which shares in these same original goals5.

In those early meetings that led to the formation, the value for theological diversity which has become a hallmark of the Progressive Christian Alliance was paramount6. Such diversity led to careful consideration of how to structure the organization, as Anna Hall notes:

The primary challenges [faced in our beginning] were identity work and deciding how processes would work in terms of ordination, etc, because of our diversity of backgrounds and ecclesiology (ranging from anarchist and baptist on the low end to progressive catholic on the high end). Questions like “do we need bishops?” and “who authorizes the ordained?” were tricky but we got through most of them admirably I think, thanks in great part to the hard work of Roger leading the development of our policies.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Founding Members

One helpful way to understand where the Progressive Christian Alliance came from and where it is going, is by examining the theological and spiritual background of the founding members. This slide shows pictures of four key individuals connected with the beginning of the Progressive Christian Alliance – Rev. Melissa Mclellan, Rev. Roger Mclellan, Rev. Terry McGuire, and Rev. Jarrod Cochran. (Unfortunately the Progressive Christian Alliance’s documents lack pictures of the lay leaders involved with its founding). Underneath their pictures I have placed an icon of the Holy Trinity developed by a progressive Christian artist, to picture that in the prayers, discussions, and interactions ultimately these founding members were seeking to encounter and work together with God in all God does.

These founding members came from a diverse set of backgrounds. Rev. Melissa McClellan grew up in a family that took part in a conservative evangelically oriented Baptist church, later in a Presbyterian church, Methodist church, and an LDS church8. These backgrounds exposed Rev. Mclellan both to a sense of God’s love, but also to aspects of legalism, misogyny, and anti-intellectualism which led to skepticism about many traditional aspects of Christian faith as it was expressed in her home state of Alabama9. She describes feeling a sense of spiritual home-coming and sensing a calling to ministry among churches in the Episcopal tradition10. She was ordained in an independent Anglican church but felt a calling to a more liberal progressive form of ministry11. She describes her desire as a desire to “ truly have a church truly that welcomes all” and shares that this vision is at the heart and core of what she began working to accomplish through helping found the Progressive Christian Alliance12.

Rev. Terry McGuire comes from a more evangelical background reflected by descriptions of his experiences of God in terms of “being saved” and “baptized” through a Baptist church when he writes about his role in the founding of the Progressive Christian Alliance13. Rev. McGuire describes himself as sensing a call to ministry while worshiping at Good Samaritan Church and also King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church14. (King of Peace MCC is a congregation of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.  The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is a Protestant denomination founded by an openly gay Pentecostal preacher, Troy Perry, as an outreach to same-gender couples proclaiming God’s acceptance of them through the blood of Christ.  All of its churches have a special outreach to members of that community)15. Unlike other founding members of the Progressive Christian Alliance, Rev. McGuire does not have a higher degree from a seminary or Divinity degree, but was self-educated in theology with the help of mentors and, like Rev. Perry of the UFMCC, simply answer a felt call of the Spirit to begin a church-planting work16. At the beginning of the Progressive Christian Alliance, Rev. McGuire was engaged in church-planting work in Largo, FL that birthed the Progressive Christian Alliance congregation LivingStones at Lincolnshire which is now co-pastored by Rev. Dave Coyle and Rev. Linda Fessenden17. Currently Rev. McGuire is engaged in further church-planting for a denomination which partners with the Progressive Christian Alliance and continues to act as a mentor to other pastors and church-planters, as well as continuing to serve on the Progressive Christian Alliance Leadership Council18. Rev. McGuire recounts some of the reasons for his passion for the Progressive Christian Alliance is its historic commitment to help provide means of supporting those who are called to pastoral ministry for whom the traditional venues for ministry training are not an option, as well as their acceptance of individuals who are in the GLBT community and who have HIV as equally loved by God and useful in Christian service19. Before his role as a church-planter, Rev. McGuire served with an HIV support organization in the FL area and where he met his long-term spouse and domestic partner, Bill Russo, Sr20.

Rev. Jarrod Cochran, as noted earlier, became involved with the Progressive Christian Alliance after organizing the Progressive Christian Movement with Anna Hall. Rev. Cochran began ministry falling in the footsteps of his father, an evangelical pastor near Atlanta21. Rev. Cochran’s ministry began in the evangelical world, serving as an interim pastor at the evangelical church his father had pastored22. Influenced by authors such as Delwin Brown, Cochran felt a need to call his evangelical congregation in a more inclusive, social-justice oriented direction23. Cochran

began preaching about how Jesus calls his followers to peacemaking as a way of life (during the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), that God loves the homosexual just as much as he loves the heterosexual, and suggesting that there is more to being a Christian than opposing abortion, gay marriage, and voting for conservative leaders24.

Cochran’s stances on these issues, which he later recorded in his book Finding Jesus Outside the Box, ultimately laid the groundwork for that congregation letting him go25. Cochran’s book, which we will discuss shortly, in many ways acted as a manifesto for many in the Progressive Christian Alliance and the progressive Christian movement26. Cochran continues to serve through writing, speaking, doing activism for civil rights issues and the cause of peace, and also serving in chaplaincy27.

Rev. Roger Mclellan in many ways has been the uniting force behind the Progressive Christian Alliance, laying much of the groundwork in those early days which preserved its unity and pointed its direction forward28. Roger grew up in a family that attended a Southern Baptist church in Anniston, AL, where he was confessed faith and was baptized at age 11, and also where he was deeply involved in the many programs of the church29. Yet in the face of family problems and personal crises, the easy pat answers brought little consolation, as did the image of an angry judging God “that kept score of all the times I messed up and sought to … shove a lightning bolt up my (backside) whenever I made a mistake”30. This led Roger to a time of a dark night of his soul, where Roger avoided the subject of God and faith, due to the hurt and pain the easy answers and intolerant portrayal of God had produced31. While in the military Roger both met his wife Melissa and also found faith again, beginning in his own experience to get glimpses of a God of love, a God of understanding and compassion32. Roger’s experience of a God of love crystallized for him when he and Melissa began to attend the Episcopal church, which provided grace and a sense that their questions were respected33. While at the Episcopal Church Roger felt a call to ministry and pursued ordination through an independent Anglican congregation34. Roger eventually, following ordination, felt called to a more inclusive ministry focused on “the needs of those ‘Lost, Least and Left Behind’”35. This desire led Roger and Melissa to plant Prince of Peace church and begin the process of organizing the Progressive Christian Alliance36.

As I mentioned before, I think we would be remiss to not look at the backgrounds of the lay leaders involved with the founding of the Progressive Christian Alliance. Each too brought unique emphases. Anna Hall, a lay leader at Virginia-Highland Church, has been involved in ecumenical work and multiple progressive causes, while studying progressive theology at Candler School of Theology, and acted as an initial lay member of the leadership council37. Erin Beavers Cochran is the wife of Rev. Jarrod Cochran but an act Christian lay leader herself. Her personal ministry has focused on bridging the gap between the GLBT community and the church, as well as advocating for those in the Native American community, of which she is a part38. Finally, William “Bill” Russo Jr., grew up Roman Catholic and is a father and grandfather39. As a young man he had considered the Roman Catholic priesthood but chose marriage and children instead40. His entrance into the progressive community came about after Bill came out as a same-gender loving person41. He became involved in HIV advocacy when his late partner passed from HIV42. After moving to FL where he met his partner of over a decade, Rev. Terry McGuire, Bill became involved with Good Samaritan Presbyterian church where he became the first openly gay elder in the congregation43. In that position, Bill became involved in disaster relief efforts for his church’s denomination before joining his partner Terry in his church-planting work44. Bill describes his choice to be involved in the Progressive Christian Alliance’s founding as being because of the way in which it is opening up a place for those who may not find a place in traditional mainline congregations45.

These examples demonstrate the diversity of the Progressive Christian Alliance in terms of theological perspective, religious tradition, as well as cultural background and sexuality. From its founding the Progressive Christian Alliance has tried to emphasize this diversity as an asset, not a hindrance, to doing the work of Jesus Christ.

 

Who Is the Progressive Christian Alliance?

On this slide, I have the question “Who is the Progressive Christian Alliance?” and included two pictures – one of clergy involved in a Progressive Christian Alliance gathering in Largo, FL in the fall of 2011, including a few new ordinands. Underneath it I have placed a photograph of the diverse mix of worshipers involved in our local Progressive Christian Alliance congregation, Diversity in Faith: A Christian Church for All People. My hope is that seeing these faces gives you a sense of who the Progressive Christian Alliance is – ultimately a diverse family of churches, ministries, and faith communities including individuals from every cultural background, of all sexualities and gender identities, and of very diverse theologies. In my own congregation, we have people of all ethnic backgrounds, of various political persuasions, straight and gay couples, activists for disability rights who happen to have disabilities themselves, charismatics, evangelicals, very liberal Christians, Quaker pacifists involved in opposing all militarism through the local Quaker House, and soldiers striving to be a warrior for God like King David was. This diversity reflects the stated vision the Progressive Christian Alliance lists as its founding principle:

From the inception of the Progressive Christian Alliance, we have had a vision for reaching out to “the least, the lost, the left behind, and those for whom religion has become irrelevant… We see this position to be very much in line with the teachings of Jesus, teachings that have sadly fallen into neglect. The Church has often become such an institution that it spends more time and resources maintaining itself than reaching into the world beyond itself. As a result we have seen more and more people pushed to the margins and even outside the doors of the church… We embrace those on the margins or outside the margins … We affirm the dignity of all of God’s children and welcome all to take their rightful place at God’s table.

We recognize that in Christ there is no gender, no orientation, no nation or race… We are all heirs to the kingdom. We readily and heartily welcome all to their rightful place at the table that God has prepared…46

 

Following the path paved by other post-modern and emergent faith communities such as Calvary Chapel and The Vineyard Association of Churches, the Progressive Christian Alliance has shied away from the “denomination” moniker, arguing that progressive Christian approaches to spirituality and community offer alternatives to such approaches47. The Progressive Christian Alliance functions with what Phyllis Tickle has called the emergent concept of “networked authority” acting more as a network than a traditional denomination48. Thus the Progressive Christian Alliance both “actively” seeks “to build bridges between clergy and laity of existing churches and ministries regardless of denominational affiliation” and includes clergy and laity from existing denominations desiring to work together with others on faith-based progressive causes among its members49 . Progressive Christian Alliance lists members of the following denominational traditions among its members: the United Church of Christ, Anglican, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Free Catholic, Independent, Interdenominational, House, and the Alliance of Baptists50. In addition to these backgrounds, two vocal members of the Alliance who serve in already existing denominations are United Methodist clergy: namely Roger Wolsey of Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity and Kevin Higgs of Hospitality to Strangers: Theology and Homosexuality51.

In addition to helping ministers in pre-existing denominations network with other progressive clergy and laity on issues of concern, the Progressive Christian Alliance also acts as an association or conference that acts “to, as a community, affirm God’s calling on the lives of God’s children and train new leaders and establish new ministries”52. By combining creating a place for Christian clergy and laity of existing denominations to network, partner, and offer support for progressive faith-based causes with also creating an association/conference for newly emerging progressive Christian ministries which can provide them ordination, “educational support, guidance, training, collegiality and pastoral support”53 in many ways the Progressive Christian Alliance is making a reality the dream Cochran and Hall had envisioned previously in the Progressive Christian Movement.

This combination network/association of churches, clergy, and ministries does have an ecclesiastical structure of sorts. As Hall noted above, attempted to meld theological visions from such diverse theological standpoints as are included under the Progressive Christian Alliance umbrella has led to some unique approaches to organizing this ministry. Central to the organization of the Progressive Christian Alliance is a commitment to egalitarianism, full gender-equality among ministers, full welcome of and inclusion of same-gender couples and transgendered individuals, and the autonomy of the local church & of member para-church ministries54. While the autonomy of the local church is affirmed and protected within its association, the Progressive Christian Alliance does have a Leadership Council that runs the day-to-day operations of the Alliance, including settling disputes between and within congregations as well as ordaining clergy55. This Council has a mix of elected and non-elected positions; the non-elected positions are of filled by founding members of the Leadership Council and will be phased out as they retire from their positions, being then replaced by elected positions56. According to the canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance, the Progressive Christian Alliance is vested in its members and all member churches & ministries remain their autonomy and control of their own funds and resources57 .

Turning toward the beliefs or doctrine of the Progressive Christian Alliance, the central guiding principle is a respect for theological diversity. Because of this, the Progressive Christian Alliance tends toward a less dogmatic approach to doctrinal questions, trying to avoid a heretical-v.-orthodox litmus test on issues of doctrine. As one Progressive Christian Alliance document states

Theologically, there is much diversity within the group; as some hold to a traditional and creedal faith, while others’ thoughts are more in line with the thoughts of Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong and others associated with Progressive Christian theology, but the group tends to place orthopraxy ahead of orthodoxy:  “We believe that following the teachings of Jesus means we need to support rights for GLBT people, rights for women, and be inclusive of all. We believe Jesus was for all people, not just coming for one elite group. For us, to be Christian is to embrace all God’s children and to speak up for the oppressed.”   The PCA  stresses the inclusive character of the Gospel, and teaches radical hospitality for those sometimes excluded from the life of the church; the disabled, GLBT persons and without regard to social status. Holy orders are open to all,  without regard to race, social status, disability or orientation.. .

As a non-creedal alliance of churches and ministries committed to theological diversity, the closest equivalents to a creed are its Scriptural foundations, its statement of faith, and its guiding principles.

The Progressive Christian Alliance’s Scriptural foundations act as the inspiration for its guiding principles58. These Scriptural foundations include Matthew 22.34-40; Matthew 25.31-40; Micah 6.8; Romans 8.31-39 ; James 3.17; John 3.16-17; John 14.1-4; Zechariah 7:9-1059. These Scriptures emphasize the unconditional and irrevocable love of God for all creation and all people; the need to not allow religious tradition to get in the way of human compassion; and the call to social justice for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.

The Progressive Christian Alliance includes a statement of faith within its constitutions and canons, after clearly explaining that there is no requirement for adherence to a set creed for welcome into its ministry60. This statement of faith is included below and attempts to use big tent language which can embrace a diversity of theological perspectives, drawing together those diverse individuals and communities on shared progressive Christian values61:

We believe in God,
whose love is the source of all life
and the desire of our lives
whose love was given a human face in Jesus of Nazareth
whose love was crucified by the evil that waits to enslave us all
and whose love, defeating even death,
is our glorious promise of freedom.
Therefore, though we are sometimes fearful and full of doubt,
we trust in that love: and in the name of Jesus Christ,
we commit ourselves, in the service of others,
to seek justice and to live in peace, to care for the earth
and to share the commonwealth of God’s goodness,
to live in the freedom of forgiveness
and in the power of the Spirit of love,
and in the company of all the faithful
past, present, and yet to come,
so to be the Church, for the glory of God.  Amen.

I would note again the key themes of the Scriptural foundations present in this statement of faith – God’s relentless love for all; the call to social justice; and the recognition of the place of doubts and questions in the life of faith.

These same values are picked up in the guiding principles of the Progressive Christian Alliance, which are: 1. We consider ourselves Christian, 2. The Progressive Christian Alliance maintains a focus on Social Justice, 3. We respect theological diversity, and 4. We affirm the dignity of all of God’s children and welcome all to take their rightful place at God’s table62. Also falling under these principles are the distinctive stances of a respect for the religious experiences and traditions of people of faith who are not Christians, as well as full inclusion of and support for same-gender relationships63.

What Is Progressive Christianity?

In Why God is Like a Wet Bar of Soap, Chuck Faker, a Quaker theologian and activist, explains how difficult it is to “pin down” liberal Quakers regarding what their actual doctrines or beliefs are about God, saying getting a concrete explanation from them of “who God is” is like trying to grab a wet bar of soap64. A similar critique can be made about progressive Christian belief and practice, and has been by both its critics and proponents65.

Despite the difficulty in pinning down progressive Christianity on certain specifics, to understand the Progressive Christian Alliance, it is important to understand progressive Christianity’s history, theology, and practice. In a very real way the wider progressive Christian movement is the “womb” that the Holy Spirit used to birth this burgeoning little alliance of believers.

As Epperly points out in his “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?” there are definitely theological underpinnings to the larger progressive Christian movement, and common themes being echoed throughout the movement66.

 I find the two themes of progressive Christianity well illustrated by two hymns of Sydney Carter, one which pictures negatively what progressive Christianity is trying not to be, and another representing for what progressive Christianity positively stands.

First, lets see the clip of “The Devil Wore a Crucifix”67.

 

This music video graphically pictures the power of the religious faith, when paired with extremism, to wreak havoc and pain upon others. This history of the Christianity sadly is littered with the broken lives and dead bodies of those injured by the pairing of Christianity with extremism. As Diana Butler-Bass writes in her A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story,

‘Jesus?’ she questioned. ‘I don’t have any trouble with Jesus. It’s all the stuff that happened after Jesus that makes me mad…’

What happened after Jesus – oppression, heresy trials, schisms, inquisitions, witch hunts, pogroms, and religious wars – witnesses to much human ambition and cruelty The things people do in Jesus’ name often contradict his teachings … ‘after Jesus’ can be remarkably depressing for sensitive souls. This dismal historical record surely was not what Jesus intended as he preached a merciful kingdom based on the transformative power of God’s love.68.

This recounting of the abuse and misuse of the religion founded on Jesus’ message is key to what Carter wrote about in his “the Devil Wears a Crucifix”. This abuse and misuse of Christian Scripture and tradition as a tool of oppression is also something key to what the progressive Christian movement is trying to change. As Progressive Christian Alliance member and United Methodist pastor Roger Wolsey argues in his Kissing Fish: Christianity for People who Don’t Like Christianity, ultimately progressive Christianity is about rejecting the judgmental, oppressive approaches to the Christian faith which often lead to the exclusion of minorities, thoughtless agreement with the state and promotion of militarism, and lack of care for the earth as distortions of the message of Jesus69.

In his The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, the late Baptist preacher and theologian Peter J. Gomes masterfully describes how even Scripture itself has been used both to promote liberty, equal rights, and respect for all people but also to oppress women, enslave and later marginalize people of color, treat same-gender loving people as diseased and criminal, and to justify genocide against the Jewish people70. Gomes argues in this work that there is a need to re-examine our approach to Scripture to work toward transforming our interpretive approach into one that avoids interpretative methods that end in oppression of others. The progressive Christian movement’s aim is to do just what Gomes suggests in his book: to re-examine the Christian faith, including the Christian approach to Scripture, in order to transform the ways Christians approach these traditions in ways that promote liberation, healing, and respect for human dignity as opposed to treating Scripture and tradition as tools for marginalizing, oppressing, and dehumanizing other human beings.

Another song which beautifully portrays the positive focus of the progressive Christian movement is Sydney Carter’s “Lord of the Dance”71.

 

 

Carter’s hymn beautifully pictures Christianity as at heart a joyful life-affirming celebration, a dance at the center of creation, a dance we have been invited to join. This “dance” image is metaphoric of a more life-affirming, creation-celebrating approach to the Christian faith. As C. Baxter Kruger describes:

 

The life that God lives as Father, Son, and Spirit is not boring and sad and lonely. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or angst. The Trinitarian life is a life of unchained fellowship and intimacy, fired by passionate self-giving love and mutual delight. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship, overflows into unbounded joy, in infinite creativity and unimaginable goodness. . . Before time dawned and space was called to be, before the heavens were stretched out and filled with a sea of stars, before the earth was summoned and filled with people and life and endless beauty, before there was anything, there was the Father, Son, and Spirit and the great dance of the Trinitarian life. The amazing truth is that this Triune God, in staggering and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal, and abiding reason for the existence of the universe and human life within it… From the beginning, … God… Father, Son, and Spirit… has determined not to exist without us72.

 

Though not always expressed in Trinitarian terms, this life-affirming, creation-embracing approach to the Christian faith is very much at the heart of what progressive Christianity is about. Faith is finding our steps in the dance that gets us in harmony with the movement of all of creation.

Various explicitly progressive authors suggest several positive affirmations of what progressive Christianity is73. Let’s look at a few of these authors.

First in his “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?” Bruce Epperly lists the following key principles as common themes in progressive theology, which the image of God inviting us to join the dance God dances in all of creation:

  1. God is present in all things as the source of energy and vision.
  2. God seeks abundant life for all creation.
  3. God’s revelation is generous and diverse, and is found in every person and religious tradition.
  4. God seeks to maximize freedom and creativity in the creaturely world.
  5. God is constantly doing new things, calling and responding to the world as it is in terms of what it can become.
  6. God invites us to be companions in healing the earth.
  7. The God revealed in all things is uniquely and dynamically revealed in certain persons and moments. Jesus of Nazareth, in his freedom, creativity, and experience of being “chosen” by God, reveals God’s vision of human life and empowers us to be God’s companions in healing the world.
  8. We are all children of God, reflecting divine wisdom and creativity. We have power and energy beyond our imagination to bring forth healing and beauty.
  9. Prayer, meditation, touch, love, and hospitality can transform and heal minds, bodies, relationships, and spirits.
  10. The future is open for both God and us. This means that our actions and commitment can be “tipping points” in the realization of God’s dream of Shalom.
  11. This world is a place of beauty to be cherished and affirmed. The afterlife is not a “better” place but a continuing adventure in companionship with a living and creative God74.

Epperly further lists the following elements of application or praxis to this theology:

  1. What we do in this world matters.
  2. We have the freedom to be God’s partners in healing the world
  3. All humans, and perhaps, beyond humankind, reflect divine wisdom and deserve to be treated with honor and care
  4. Since the future is open, we can be partners in bringing something beautiful to earth.
  5. Our calling is to seek abundant life for humankind, and all creation.
  6. We are to practice prophetic hospitality, seeking justice and liberation, while treating those with differing opinions with the same care as those for whom we are advocating75.

 

Two other documents that are treated as a consensus on progressive Christianity are the Phoenix declaration and the 8 Points of Progressive Christianity, which make similar points but add additional emphasis upon the equality of GLBT persons to straight persons in God’s sight, openness to insights from science, and respect for other faiths as also sources of truth76.

In Delwin Brown’s classic What Does a Progressive Christian Believe?: A Guide for the Searching, the Open, and the Curious, Brown presents a number of very positive statements regarding what progressive Christianity is. His book acts as almost a reader’s digest systematic theology of the progressive Christian movement. He summarizes its context by saying:

  1. Progressive Christians are people formed by the tradition grounded in Jesus Christ … The assertion of absolute truth for this tradition, or any interpretation of it, is contrary to Christianity’s own best insights, as well as to the demonstrable fallibility of all human claims to truth. But we believe Christianity’s historic resources offer vital criticisms, values, and visions that can provide insight, hope, and transformation to the human family.
  2. The Bible is our foundational resource. Its varied interpretations of Jesus Christ and the gospel “author” our identity as Christians. The diversity of these interpretations compel us to honor differences among Christians today. Their engagement with each other inspires us to engage our own differences, candidly but respectfully. The manifold voices within our scriptural foundation invite us into their dialog, criticize our limited understandings, teach us to think faithfully for ourselves, and empower us to come to views of our own about the meaning of Christian responsibility in today’s world.
  3. Jesus Christ discloses to us the oneness of God with the world and the manner of God’s working in it. We share St. Paul’s conviction that God seeks the salvation of the entire created order, and we share the conviction of the ancient Church that salvation is possible by the power of God’s presence… Believing in Christ means believing that God is at home in the world, works through its processes, and committed without reserve to its fulfillment
  4. The God revealed in Jesus Christ is the creative power for good at work in all of creation. God judges, heals, and transforms through persuasive love, not absolute power. Just as God makes a difference in the world, so we make a difference in the divine experience. God rejoices in our joys and suffers in our sorrows. We may experience the incarnate God as guide, presence, and mystery, but we can never capture God in our understanding. To claim absolute truth for any concept of God is a corruption of the religious standpoint, an expression of fear and a denial of faith.
  5. Humanity is called to work with God in the service of the entire creation. Our responsibility is to use the resources given us to create physical and social orders that enrich life on all levels…
  6. Sin is thinking of ourselves – individually or collectively – more highly, or less highly, than we ought to think. Sin is the excess valuing or devaluing of any element, group, or portion of the creation in relationship to the rest… Our failure to love properly and our self-deception about this failure create structures of inhumanity that continue from generation to generation. These structures… abide as the environments in which we are formed from birth, and from which we must be set free.
  7. Salvation is the activity of God incarnate, working through all of the processes of creation to bring it to the fullness and health made possible by love. It is a promise for all dimensions of life – personal and social, physical and spiritual, human and non-human… The principle metaphors [of salvation are]… – the “reign of God” – a vision of this world transformed by justice and love, and “eternal life” – a vision of God incarnate and the world to whose reality our efforts and our lives might somehow contribute everlastingly…
  8. The Church is … [necessary because:] Beliefs and values are sustained most effectively in community practices… The Church is the community of those who seek to serve God’s healing work in the world… 77.

 

Another systemic presentation of Progressive Christian thought of particular importance to understanding the Progressive Christian Alliance is Jarrod Cochran’s Finding Jesus Outside the Box. In this work, Cochran outlines the following key emphases of progressive Christianity: a re-emphasis on the life of Christ as central, a prophetic stance to the excesses of nationalism and capitalism, a focus on peace-making and non-violence, an emphasis on the radical inclusiveness of God’s love including the welcome of GLBT people as equal members of God’s family, a renewed emphasis on care for nature and creation, a commitment to the poor and oppressed, and an openness to learning truths of God through science and other faith traditions replacing the antipathy toward those sources of wisdom78. Cochran further expands on these same themes in other writings, such as his Patheos interview79.

Marcus Borg summarizes the progressive vision of the Christian life by saying it “sees the Christian life as a life of relationship and transformation. Being Christian is not about meeting requirements for a future reward in the afterlife, and not very much about believing. Rather, the Christian life is about a relationship with God that transforms life in the present.”80

 

Progressive Saints: A History of the Progressive Christian Movement

Progressive Christian theologians point to a variety of trail-blazers in Christian history who are viewed as an inspiration to the movement because their theological vision or radical commitment to counter-cultural living out of the life of Jesus modeled the elements of the Christian faith which are key to progressive Christianity.

In the ancient church, a few examples of these inspirations are: Irenaeus, who celebrated the way in which God had wedded God’s self to creation in the Incarnation committing God’s self to this world and proclaimed that the glory of God is in human beings fully alive; Origen, an early church father who rejected crudely literal interpretations of Scripture, encouraging his students to understand much of Scripture especially the Hebrew Scriptures are intended to be applied metaphorically not literal-historically; sisters Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen, both of whom experienced revelations of God having a universal love for all humanity, God revealing God’s self in feminine terms, and finally Hildegard particularly seeing God at work on the side of the oppressed working justice81.

It is in the Protestant era, particularly the Holiness preaching of John Wesley and other evangelicals such as George Whitfield and John Newton that the seeds of progressive Christianity were originally sown82. The way in which these early evangelicals pave the way for the progressives is that they link personal conversion with a call to social action, the call to fight for social justice such as fighting for abolition, for women’s suffrage, for children’s rights and education 83. Such ministry ends up being the inspiration for such reformers as William Wilberforce, Charles Finney, and Walter Rauschenbusch in their fight for social justice in their communities 84. Rauschenbusch’s emphasis on Social Gospel and openness to higher critical questions about Scripture as well as the use of social sciences to inform his ministry is a marked change from more traditional forms of evangelical ministry85. This begins the Christian progressive movement which is the foundation for the contemporary liberal Christianity, the civil rights movement led by figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, and eventually the liberation theology movement86. These movements together with insights from historical study of the Gospels and Scripture, as well as the neo-orthodox movement, develop the theological concepts and questions which are at the heart of the contemporary progressive Christian movement87.

 

Engaging in Progressive Christian Ministry

In closing I would like to present a picture of what progressive Christian ministry is like. In her book The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach, Carrie Doehring presents pastoral ministry that bears in mind the post-modern influences which have shaped progressive Christianity as straying from the strict literalism of fundamentalism or the practice detached from tradition found in classical liberalism88. Instead it uses the best of pre-modern, modernist, and post-modernist lens, as a tri-fold lens to shape responses to contemporary situations. Progressive clergy use pre-modern aspects of Christian experience such as Biblical myth, symbolism, prayer, and traditional Christian ritual to help individuals connect with the mystical side of life and spirituality89. They draw on modernist techniques of scientific, psychological, & social science approaches to pressing questions of the day where the pre-modern mystical approaches do not provide help. Also they draw on the post-modern critical approaches that expose the systems of injustice in which people find themselves and others, guiding those to whom they minister in a path of personal and community liberation90.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

8 Points of Progressive Christianity” The Center for Progressive Christianity website.

http://www.tcpc.org/about/8points.cfm (Accessed February 3, 2012).

Bass, Diana Butler Bass. A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. (New York,

NY: HarperOne, 2009)

Borg, Marcus. The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering the Life of Faith. (San Fransisco, CA:

HarperSanFransisco, 2003).

Brown, Delwin. Authored by the Book. Pacific School of Religion.

www.psr.edu/files_psr/Brown_AuthoredbytheBook.pdf(Accessed February 27, 2012).

Brown, Delwin. “Rediscovering Our Progressive Christian Heritage”. Pacific School of Religion

website. http://www.psr.edu/files_psr/Expl_BrownRediscoveringPCH.pdf (Accessed February

3, 2012).

Brown, Delwin. Understanding Biblical Authority. Pacific School of Religion Website.

www.psr.edu/understanding-biblical-authority(Accessed February 27, 2012).

Brown, Delwin. What Does a Progressive Christian Believe?: A Guide for the Searching, the Open,

and the Curious. (New York, NY: Seabury Books, 2008).

Cochran, Jarrod. Finding Jesus Outside the Box. (Atlanta, GA: Progressive Christian Alliance Press,

2008).

Cochran, Jarrod. Personal Interview with Author, February 20, 2012.

Cochran, Jarrod, “Theological and Political: An Interview with Jarrod Cochran”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Theological-and-Political-Interview-

with-Jarrod-Cochran-06-21-2011.html (Accessed February 29, 2012).

Doehring, Carrie. The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach. (Louisville, KY:

Westminster John Knox Press, 2006)

Dorrien, Gary. The Making of American Liberal Theology. Vol 3. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John

Knox Press, 2001).

Epperly, Bruce. “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Progressive-Christianity-a-

Theological-Movement-Bruce-Epperly-06-13-2011.html (Accessed February 13, 2012).

Evans, Christopher H. The Kingdom is Always but Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch. (William

B. Eerdmans Publishing, Kindle edition: Grand Rapids, MI, 2004).

Fager, Chuck. Why God is Like a Wet Bar of Soap. (Fayetteville, NC : Kimo Press, 2003).

Gomes, Peter J. The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart. (New York, NY: William

Morrow and Company, 1996).

Hall, Anna. Online correspondence with author, April 5, 2012.

Higgs, Kevin Thomas. Hospitality to Strangers: Theology and Homosexuality. (Birmingham, AL:

Createspace, 2011).

Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam. (Jackson, MS: Perichoresis Press, 2003).

McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

Mclellan, Roger. Correspondence with author, April 5, 2012

Metataxas, Eric. Amazing Grace. (HarperCollins e-books, Kindle Edition).

Reyes, Bruce. “You Might be a Progressive Christian if …”. Patheos Website.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/breyeschow/2011/06/16/you-might-be-progressive-christian-if/ (Accessed February 13, 2012).

The Phoenix Affirmations”. The Center for Progressive Christianity website. https://www396.ssldomain.com/tcpc/doc/The%20Phoenix%20Affirmations-%20full

%20version.pdf (Accessed February 3, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “About Us”. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org

/Blog/mission/about-us/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Anna Hall”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/ms-anna-hall/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Constitution and Canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/constitution-cannons/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

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cochran/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

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The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012)

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Scriptural Foundations”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/scriptural-foundations (Accessed March 1, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Our History”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/our-history/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Melissa Mclellan”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/melissa-mcclellan/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website.

http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “The Progressive Christian Alliance: Embracing the Margins,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog

/mission/a-church-at-the-margins/ (Accessed March 22, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “What We Are: Defining a Movement that Refuses to be Labeled,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/

what-are-we-defining-a-movement-that-refuses-to-be-labeled/ (Accessed March 22, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-

%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

Tickle, Phyllis. The Great Emergence. (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2008).

Why I Am Not a Progressive Christian”. Nouspique website. http://nouspique.com/2010/04/why-i-

am-not-a-progressive-christian/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

Wink, Walter. The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millenium. (New York, NY: Galilee Doubleday, 1998).

Wolsey, Roger. Kissing Fish: Christianity For People Who Don’t Like Christianity. (Xlibris, 2011)

1See The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Staff”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/staff/ (Accessed March 27th, 2012); also “Our History”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/our-history/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

2 This information is based on the following:

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Staff”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/staff/ (Accessed March 27th, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Our History”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/our-history/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

Hall, Anna. Email Correspondence with author, April 9, 2012.

Mclellan, Roger. Correspondence with author, April 5, 2012. The Progressive Christian Alliance.

“Anna Hall”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/ms-anna-hall/ (Accessed March 27th, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.”

The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Erin Beaver Cochran”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/mrs-erin-beavers-cochran/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

3Mclellan, Roger. Online correspondence with author, April 5, 2012.

4Hall, Anna. Online correspondence with author, April 5, 2012.

5 The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Our History”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/our-history/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

6The Progressive Christian Alliance. “About Us”. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/about-us/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

7Hall, Anna. Online correspondence with author, April 5, 2012.

8The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Melissa Mclellan”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/melissa-mcclellan/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

9The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Melissa Mclellan”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/melissa-mcclellan/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

10The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Melissa Mclellan”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/melissa-mcclellan/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

11The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Melissa Mclellan”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/melissa-mcclellan/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

12The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Melissa Mclellan”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/melissa-mcclellan/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

13The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Terry McGuire”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-terry-mcguire/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

14The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Terry McGuire”. The Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-terry-mcguire/ (Accessed March 27, 2012)

15McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

16McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

17McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

18McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

19McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

20McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

21The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012)

22The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012)

23 Gathered from a combination of Cochran, Jarrod. Personal Interview with Author, February 20, 2012 and The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012)

24The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012)

25 Cochran, Jarrod. Personal Interview with Author, February 20, 2012 and The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012)

26Mclellan, Roger. Personal Interview with Author, February 20, 2012.

27 The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Jarrod Cochran”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-jarrod-cochran/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

28Hall, Anna. Online correspondence with author, April 5, 2012.

29The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

30The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

31The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

32The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

33The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

34The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

35The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

36The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Rev. Roger Mclellan”. Progressive Christian Alliance website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/rev-roger-mcclellan/ (Accessed April 1, 2012).

37The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Anna Hall”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/ms-anna-hall/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

38The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Erin Beaver Cochran”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/mrs-erin-beavers-cochran/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

39 The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

40The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

41The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

42The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

43The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

44The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012). Also McGuire, Terry. Interview by Author, February 21, 2012.

45The Progressive Christian Alliance. “William ‘Bill’ Russo, Sr.” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/uncategorized/william-p-russo-sr-%E2%80%9Cbill%E2%80%9D/ (Accessed March 27, 2012).

46The Progressive Christian Alliance. “The Progressive Christian Alliance: Embracing the Margins,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/a-church-at-the-margins/ (Accessed March 22, 2012).

47Compare The Progressive Christian Alliance. “About Us,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/about-us/ (Accessed March 22, 2012) with Tickle, Phyllis. The Great Emergence. (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2008), 150-159.

48Tickle, Phyllis. The Great Emergence. (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2008), 150-156.

49The Progressive Christian Alliance. “What We Are: Defining a Movement that Refuses to be Labeled,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/what-are-we-defining-a-movement-that-refuses-to-be-labeled/ (Accessed March 22, 2012)

50The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Our History”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/our-history/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

51Rev. Wolsey recounts his theological journey and denominational backgrond in Wolsey, Roger. Kissing Fish: Christianity For People Who Don’t Like Christianity. (Xlibris, 2011), 9, 21-53. Rev. Higgs discusses his denominational affiliation in Higgs, Kevin Thomas. Hospitality to Strangers: Theology and Homosexuality. (Birmingham, AL: Createspace, 2011), 2-6, 132-140.

52The Progressive Christian Alliance. “What We Are: Defining a Movement that Refuses to be Labeled,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/what-are-we-defining-a-movement-that-refuses-to-be-labeled/ (Accessed March 22, 2012)

53The Progressive Christian Alliance. “What We Are: Defining a Movement that Refuses to be Labeled,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/what-are-we-defining-a-movement-that-refuses-to-be-labeled/ (Accessed March 22, 2012)

54See The Progressive Christian Alliance. “What We Are: Defining a Movement that Refuses to be Labeled,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/what-are-we-defining-a-movement-that-refuses-to-be-labeled/ (Accessed March 22, 2012); The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Our History”. Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/our-history/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).; The Progressive Christian Alliance. “About Us”. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/about-us/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

55The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Constitution and Canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/constitution-cannons/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

56The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Constitution and Canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/constitution-cannons/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

57The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Constitution and Canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/constitution-cannons/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

58The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Scriptural Foundations”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website.

http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/scriptural-foundations (Accessed March 1, 2012).

59The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Scriptural Foundations”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/scriptural-foundations (Accessed March 1, 2012).

60The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Constitution and Canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/constitution-cannons/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

61The Progressive Christian Alliance. “Constitution and Canons of the Progressive Christian Alliance”. The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/constitution-cannons/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

62The Progressive Christian Alliance. “About Us”. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/about-us/ (Accessed February 2, 2012).

63The Progressive Christian Alliance. “The Progressive Christian Alliance: Embracing the Margins,” The Progressive Christian Alliance Website. http://www.progressivechristianalliance.org/Blog/mission/a-church-at-the-margins/ (Accessed March 22, 2012).

64Fager, Chuck. Why God is Like a Wet Bar of Soap. (Fayetteville, NC : Kimo Press, 2003) 46-52

65See, for example, Epperly, Bruce. “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Progressive-Christianity-a-Theological-Movement-Bruce-Epperly-06-13-2011.html (Accessed February 13, 2012);

Reyes, Bruce. “You Might be a Progressive Christian if …”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/breyeschow/2011/06/16/you-might-be-progressive-christian-if/ (Accessed February 13, 2012).

“Why I Am Not a Progressive Christian”. Nouspique website. http://nouspique.com/2010/04/why-i-am-not-a-progressive-christian/ (Accessed March 1, 2012).

66Epperly, Bruce. “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Progressive-Christianity-a-Theological-Movement-Bruce-Epperly-06-13-2011.html (Accessed February 13, 2012

67At this point I will pause the presentation to play a video of images including Fransiscus Henri singing Sydney Carter’s “The Devil Wore A Crucifix,” taken from Youtube Website. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMkr754WjuQ (Accessed April 11, 2012).

68Bass, Diana Butler Bass. A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2009), 1-2.

69Wolsey, Roger. Kissing Fish: Christianity For People Who Don’t Like Christianity. (Xlibris, 2011), 22-26, 39.

70Gomes, Peter J. The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart. (New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, 1996), 69-172.

71At this point in my presentation I will play Sydney Carter’s “Lord of the Dance” as place in Youtube Music Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-LCIMWH0Nc (Accessed April 11, 2012).

72Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam. (Jackson, MS: Perichoresis Press, 2003), 54

73Baxter Kruger does not identify himself as a progressive Christian, even if his image of salvation as being restored to the dance at the heart of creation resonates well with progressive Christian theology.

74Epperly, Bruce. “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Progressive-Christianity-a-Theological-Movement-Bruce-Epperly-06-13-2011.html (Accessed February 13, 2012

75Epperly, Bruce. “Is Progressive Christianity a Theological Movement?”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Progressive-Christianity-a-Theological-Movement-Bruce-Epperly-06-13-2011.html (Accessed February 13, 2012).

76“The Phoenix Affirmations”. The Center for Progressive Christianity website. https://www396.ssldomain.com/tcpc/doc/The%20Phoenix%20Affirmations-%20full%20version.pdf (Accessed February 3, 2012).

“8 Points of Progressive Christianity” The Center for Progressive Christianity website. http://www.tcpc.org/about/8points.cfm (Accessed February 3, 2012).

77Brown, Delwin. What Does a Progressive Christian Believe?: A Guide for the Searching, the Open, and the Curious. (New York, NY: Seabury Books, 2008) 96-98,108-109

78Cochran, Jarrod. Finding Jesus Outside the Box. (Atlanta, GA: Progressive Christian Alliance Press, 2008), 32-36, 44-51, 53-71, 72-87, 88-104, 106-116, 117-129, 131-143

79Cochran, Jarrod, “Theological and Political: An Interview with Jarrod Cochran”. Patheos Website. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Theological-and-Political-Interview-with-Jarrod-Cochran-06-21-2011.html (Accessed February 29, 2012).

80Borg, Marcus. The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering the Life of Faith. (San Fransisco, CA: HarperSanFransisco, 2003), 14.

81Bass, Diana Butler Bass. A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2009),36-46, 109-112, 127-132.

82Wolsey, Roger. Kissing Fish: Christianity For People Who Don’t Like Christianity. (Xlibris, 2011), 31-32, 74-76, 146-148, 207-208.

Metataxas, Eric. Amazing Grace. (HarperCollins e-books, Kindle Edition), p 5-12

83Brown, Delwin, “Rediscovering Our Progressive Christian Heritage”. Pacific School of Religion website. http://www.psr.edu/files_psr/Expl_BrownRediscoveringPCH.pdf (Accessed February 3, 2012), 1-4.

84Metataxas, Eric. Amazing Grace. (HarperCollins e-books, Kindle Edition), p 5-12, 182-186; Evans, Christopher H. The Kingdom is Always but Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch. (William B. Eerdmans Publishing : Grand Rapids, MI, 2004). Kindle edition. Locations 54-56, 94-97, 106, 176-200

85Evans, Christopher H. The Kingdom is Always but Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch. (William B. Eerdmans Publishing : Grand Rapids, MI, 2004). Kindle edition. 54-56, 94-97, 106, 176-200

86As presented by Delwin Brown in “Rediscovering Our Progressive Christian Heritage”. Pacific School of Religion website. http://www.psr.edu/files_psr/Expl_BrownRediscoveringPCH.pdf (Accessed February 3, 2012), 5-7 , 11-16

87As presented by Delwin Brown in “Rediscovering Our Progressive Christian Heritage”. Pacific School of Religion website. http://www.psr.edu/files_psr/Expl_BrownRediscoveringPCH.pdf (Accessed February 3, 2012), 8-11. See also Borg, Marcus. The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering the Life of Faith. (San Fransisco, CA: HarperSanFransisco, 2003), 1-25; Wolsey, Roger. Kissing Fish: Christianity For People Who Don’t Like Christianity. (Xlibris, 2011), 192-217. For the influence of the Jesus Seminar on progressive Christian theology see Dorrien, Gary. The Making of American Liberal Theology. Vol 3. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 523-530.

88The following comments are taken from Doehring, Carrie. The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 1-13.

89For an excellent presentation on Progressive Christian approaches to Scriptural authority see Brown, Delwin. Understanding Biblical Authority. Pacific School of Religion Website. www.psr.edu/understanding-biblical-authority (Accessed February 27, 2012); also Brown, Delwin. Authored by the Book. Pacific School of Religion. www.psr.edu/files_psr/Brown_AuthoredbytheBook.pdf (Accessed February 27, 2012)

90For an excellent introductory presentation on a progressive Christian approach to liberation to oppressive systems of injustice, see Walter Wink’s The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millenium. (New York, NY: Galilee Doubleday, 1998).

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