Progressive Christianity is basically a subset of Christianity which I think was probably established partly as a rebellion against the type of nasty and small minded fundamentalism that we see in certain pockets thought out the world today. The basis tenets of it are here but within it there is a lot of variation. Can you be a progressive and still believe in the virgin birth? The divinity of Jesus? Demonic possession? There’s a lot of wriggle room within it from what I’ve seen and you’re not going to get told that ‘YOU’RE NOT A REAL CHRISTIAN’ for asking questions and while you might get a slight dismissive sneer for accepting that exorcisms are an actual thing you’re not going to get voted off the island.
So am I a P C? Yeah, probably. Mostly. When I’m discussing my faith with people, will I be making sure that I clarify that I am a ‘Progressive Christian’? No.
See I’ve spent all my life being disdainful and mocking of Christians. When I’ve met a ‘good one’ I’ve assumed that they were funny/smart/ amusingly sarcastic in spite of their faith and admired the fact that they still retained a spark of their true self despite the awful truth of their religious beliefs. Since I’m going to take a shot at this Whole Christian Thing then I need to embrace it; the good and the bad. I think that if I start off by labelling myself as a ‘progressive’ I will be, still, distancing myself from Christianity. Not as absolutely as I did when I was an atheist of course, but I will still be keeping a mental wall between my own, super special and unique and groundbreaking way of being a Christian and the poor delusionals that aren’t as enlightened as me. It’s a broad church (boom boom) and I need to make peace with that and slot myself into that framework, not announce that I have to change the framework in order to embrace it.
I need to stress here that I absolutely don’t think that Progressive Christians are doing this. I do not think that Progressive Christians all feel this way and if I lived in a fundamentalist area of America and could only find a Baptist church to attend then things would be very different. But I’m lucky to live in an area with what I think is a fair amount of balance and the church that I (barely ever) attend isn’t one where I will feel alien. The fact that I’m not labelling myself a PC is a reflection of my awareness of my tendency towards arrogance and superiority. I often need to work on my own humility and starting off my Christian life by mentally setting myself apart from most other Christ followers is a really, really bad start.
Does that make sense? God I spend a lot of time describing my bad qualities. I think my next post should be ‘Why I am Fantastic’.
While writing this post I found this quiz which tells me that I’m a Brian McClaren Christian and probably subscribe to Sojourners and Relevant (yes) and place a large emphasis on social justice (yes) and while I might be progressive I’m probably post-evangelical. I don’t quite know what that is but I suspect I’m not going to like it.
Also, Joel wrote a post based on this quiz over on The Progressive Redneck if you want to check it out.