Category: Humor

Recently, Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, and to a lesser extent U.S. President Obama, were soundly criticized for statements that seemed to lionize the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.   Trudeau stated:

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President. Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.  (You can read the entire statement here).

His warm words have sparked parodies on Social Media, mockingly praising Hitler and Osama Bin Ladin. For example, “Osama Bin Laden was certainly a controversial figure, but his contribution to airport security is unparalleled”, and “Today we mourn the death of Jeffrey Dahmer, who opened his home to the LGBTQ community and pushed culinary boundaries.” One of my favorites is “We mourn the passing of Henry VIII: A man who always kept his head, while all around were losing theirs”.

In slight contrast, President Obama’s words were more measured, but still a far cry from a realistic appraisal of the monstrosity of Castro’s communist dictatorship:

“We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

In Miami, home to much of the Cuban population in exile, those “powerful emotions” were joy and celebration:

It did not matter that it was the middle of the night, or that it began to drizzle. When this city’s Cuban-American residents heard the news, they sprinted to Little Havana. They banged pots and pans. They sang the Cuban national anthem and waved the Cuban flag. They danced and hugged, laughed and cried, shouted and rejoiced. (Read more at New York Times).

These Cubans recall “el Commandante” with a bit less than fondness, after all.  It is estimated by historian Thomas Skidmore that 550 people were summarily executed in the first 6 months of Castro’s reign. Over the years spanning 1959 – 2012, at least 3615 people are documented to have died in firing squads, and 1253 in “extrajudicial killings”, according to Cuba Archive. The Black Book of Communism (available in its entirety at estimates the number of political killings at 15,000-17,000. Between 1950 and 1980 over a million Cubans fled the island, mostly to the United States.  In 1964, Castro admitted holding over 15,000 political prisoners.

A Washington Post opinion piece summarizes some of the disaster brought upon Cuba by this “legendary revolutionary”:

It began with mass summary executions of Batista officials and soon progressed to internment of thousands of gay men and lesbians; systematic, block-by-block surveillance of the entire citizenry; repeated purges, complete with show trials and executions, of the ruling party; and punishment for dissident artists, writers and journalists. Mr. Castro’s regime learned from the totalitarian patron he chose to offset the U.S. adversary — the Soviet Union, whose offensive nuclear missiles he welcomed, bringing the world to the brink of armageddon. Mr. Castro sponsored violent subversive movements in half a dozen Latin American countries and even in his dotage helped steer Venezuela to economic and political catastrophe through his patronage of Hugo Chávez.

Castro should also be remembered as a relentless persecutor of Christianity.  Cuba is officially an atheist state. When he seized power, almost immediately he shut down 400 Roman Catholic schools for teaching “dangerous beliefs.”  Christians were initially denied membership in the Communist Party.  Due to restrictions in building churches, many people met in homes.  Christians were, of course, among the purged. The dissident Armando Valladares, who was locked in a pitch-dark Cuban prison cell for eight years while stripped naked, has recently given his recollections in a Washington Post editorial:

Antagonizing believers is a particular specialty of the Castro regime. To them, faith is especially dangerous, because it kindles the conscience and keeps it burning when enemies advance. “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” were the last words of so many of my friends who were dragged to the shooting wall. Eventually, the government realized this was a battle cry for freedom, one that came from the deepest part of the men they were killing, and one that was only inspiring more men to die faithful to their consciences and to something greater than Fidel Castro. Their executioners realized that an expression of faith was more powerful than the explosion of a gun. So eventually, they gagged them.

Although the Castro regime eventually moderated its stance toward Christianity, and sought the favor of the Pope, still, as recently as 2015 more than 2300 incidents of persecution–arrests, beatings, demolition of churches, and the like–were reported. (Newsweek)

The Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan had a “eulogy” for Castro that should have been a model for Trudeau and Obama:

“Although the death of a human being is rarely cause for celebration, it is the symbolic death of the destructive ideologies that he espoused that, I believe, is filling the Cuban exile community with renewed hope and a relief that has been long in coming. And although the grip of Castro’s regime will not loosen overnight, the demise of a leader that oversaw the annihilation of those with an opposing view, the indiscriminate jailing of innocents, the separation of families, the censure of his people’s freedom to speak, state sanctioned terrorism and the economic destruction of a once thriving & successful country, can only lead to positive change for the Cuban people and our world. May freedom continue to ring in the United States, my beautiful adopted country, and may the hope for freedom be inspired and renewed in the heart of every Cuban in my homeland and throughout the world.”


It’s fall again–leaves are changing, a bitter chill is piercing the air, and we look ahead with some trepidation to the coming of winter snows. In the midst of this chill, this annual dying of nature, I am warmed and cheered by a little cup of bitter liquid: Coffee.

Many years ago a friend sent me a funny article entitled “25 reasons beer is better than women”. Items included things like “beer doesn’t get mad at you if you come home late” and “you don’t have to wine and dine a bottle of beer.” (A Google search will quickly provide you dozens of sites where this information can be found). Similar lists are out there with wine. You may run across “ways that wine is like women”–for example, many get better with age. Regarding coffee, there isn’t as much, though I did run across 5 ways great content is like a cup of coffee.

Recently a friend remarked to me that a coffee drink is “a blessing in a cup.” This prompted me to think of some ways that a warm beverage from the corner coffee shop might be like the presence of God.

Ways that Coffee is a Blessing in a Cup

  • Coffee warms your body the way God’s love warms your soul.
  • Coffee doesn’t care about your gender, skin color, or ethnicity.
  • Coffee doesn’t care how you voted in the last election.
  • Coffee invigorates.
  • It helps you see more clearly.
  • It gives you the fortitude to do what needs to be done.
  • It lifts your mood.
  • When it is present in a room, it fills the room with an aroma, a sense of its presence; others notice.
  • While some coffee may be bitter, often like life itself, there are mysterious ingredients that spicen up and sweeten that bitterness, the way God’s Holy Spirit sweetens our lives.
  • We could stretch the analogy further. As with church, you often go to a special place to receive your blessing, in a building designed for the purpose of disseminating it.
  • As with church you step out from the cold dull world into a place of warmth, where you can briefly shed your burdens and put your usual cares behind you.
  • You may get a smile and some interaction, perhaps even a kind word, from the priest of this blessing, known as the barista.

Anyway, the next time you find your hands wrapped around that medium roast, or Latte, or Cafe mocha, and bring the hot liquid to your lips, think of it as a little blessing in a cup. Thank God for these little blessings of life and enjoy your day.

(Image credit: Latte art at Doppio Ristretto in Chiang Mai. Used in accordance with Creative Commons 3.0 license; obtained from Wikimedia Commons).

In honor of this milestone, I’ll share some of the lovely comments that have filled my inbox. I’m sure real people will read this stuff eventually, and leave comments, but for now…

If I judged solely on responses, I would categorize my “readership” into a few categories:

1. Site Engine Optimization companies trolling for business. This is the most common reply.

Hi my name is Sandra and I just wanted to drop you a quick note here instead of calling you. I came to your The Black Paternoster – Brother James’ Airs page and noticed you could have a lot more traffic. I have found …


Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever

2. Viagra or cialis resellers. This is probably the second most common.

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3. A lot of messages about weight loss advice.

These target your abs so well you will likely be sore for your first week.

An effective and balanced meals are important for your system to operate efficiently and you may also feel more energetic.
Sleep deprivation can also be associated with
several health problems, including heart problems.

4. Word salad generated by robots. This can be quite fun to read sometimes.

No litigation to find out who gets what for his role in the venture was ever instrumental in aiding an undertaking succeed.

If you have a place that other people are feeding, you will not ought
to wait long. There are portable finders such as
the Fishin’ Buddy Series and also the Smart – Cast series. Nevertheless, it
is really an excellent reputation for this kind of incredible
little bird, now don’t you think.

Almost done. Got image instead of imago and failed on taboos but quite pleased with myself as the best for a while. Don’t get why “Bravo” is “bee on the radio”

Every once in a while you get a random pshcyo in the middle of a break-up ranting and raving against women on here .it’s a little funny but mostly I feel bad for them because I can tell they’re just having a bad time with women bacause they’re mysogynists

I got a little fed up with that anecint language that, beautiful though it may be, has little relevance to our modern age. Lines like:Christ in the fort,Christ in the chariot seat,Christ in the poopWhile working on The Dark Sacrament, a book I co-authored in 2006, I decided to do a fresh translation for the 21st century. Here it is.

Great list Hans! Let’s see .don’t shoot the messenger here ok? The first Transformers movie has a great scene on Air Force one..does that count? What about We are Marshall? I know it’s desserping that they all die on the plane but what a great movie! Does Independence Day count as that flight with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum is..well kind of funny anyway. I know it is not a movie but I cannot help but mention the Airport episode of Seinfeld Elaine gets stuck in Coach while Jerry rides first class .it’s hilarious.

Speaking as a heterosexual man, and being quite faiilmar with the human bone structure, the “gap” is not an indicator of sexual prowess nor medical abnormality ladies. Please don’t obsess over it. While some men may see it as a sexual “feature” ..unlike a smile, collar-bone, breast size or even IQ, many do not. (me included). I’ll do my best as a Chiver to uphold the “tight-end” versions.I really do need to pop over here occasionally. Quite an eye-opening discussion. Kcco everyone.

Hi Melissa! Thanks for the kind words; late or not, so glad you stopped by. I love that rush and sirpruse too when I read some of the stuff that comes out of me, truly mystifying and oh yes, very powerful incentive to continue showing up to write more hoping it happens again.I just told Cinnamon he has a new admirer and he’s struttin’ around here all full of himself tonight That little guy is truly a precious soul and has encouraged me more than words can say. Did you perchance notice that the background wallpaper to my website is a picture I took of his fur?

If you have friends like mine on Facebook, then this bit of drivel has probably been tossed your way:

“Because you know, when the Bible was written, and then rewritten, and then edited, and then re-edi -ted, then translated from dead languages and then re-retranslated and re-edited again, then re-re-re-edited, and then re-translated, and then given to kings for them to take their favorite parts out, and then re-edited and re-translated and given to the pope for him to approve, and then re-edited and re-written— all based on stories that were told orally 30 to 90 years after they had happened to people who didn’t know how to write… I guess what I’m trying to say is, the bible is literally the world’s oldest game of telephone.” (David Cross, comedian)

We could respond soberly, but I have an idea that is more fun. What if, in the middle of his comedic diatribe, Mr. Cross got smacked with the facts. The result might be something like this:

“Because you know, it seems that something might have happened in Jerusalem, but of course all we have is oral tradition and hearsay–oops, scratch that–well, apparently we have written eyewitness accounts, but we are stuck with only 1–oh? Goodness me–make that four eyewitness accounts, written 90 years–Oops, I’m sorry–30 years from the event (and–who knew? Turns out there are some mentions within the letters of Paul penned only 15 years afterward); Of course all of this was written in dead languages (like Greek–who can speak that?) by people who were clearly illiterate–like that Pharisee scholar Paul and Luke the physician–ok maybe not so illiterate but hey, let’s not let facts ruin a good narrative, eh?–And of course that information only survived in a few manuscripts–oops, turns out it’s actually tens upon tens of thousands of manuscripts, hmm–but these are obviously from centuries –oops, correction–as early as decades after their writing; still, probably they have wildly different information, which of course is because of later editing and endless re-translations and due to the activities of kings and medieval popes, and–oh wait–I guess it turns out that these copies are all virtually identical and differ only rarely in insignificant ways such as missing punctuation marks. Well, shucks, I guess it looks the Bible is more like honest reporting than like a game of telephone. But hey, I’m a comedian, not a scholar, and I still don’t like the Bible, so feel free to ignore it and ridicule any of your friends who feel differently. (Christians are fun to ridicule, because they are nice and won’t behead you like certain other scary religions we won’t mention).”

The University of Tennessee has asked its teachers and students to start using gender neutral pronouns in a bid to create “inclusivity” within the campus.

Among the so-called gender neutral singular pronouns are: “ze,” “hir,” “hirs,” “xe,” “xem,” and “xyr.” The said pronouns are encouraged for use within the campus, while gender binary pronouns such as “he” and “she” are discouraged.

Read more at Christian Post

I should note that the proposal was withdrawn after public ridicule and protests from the state legislature, such as this:
A letter written by state Rep. Susan Lynn, R–Mt. Juliet, has 31 co-authors, including the speaker pro tempore of the House, and it condemns the policy as political indoctrination. (The Lebanon Democrat

By The Crazy Scotsman, and colleagues, in honor of April Fools 2015

Here are some of the favorite phrases and terms and ideas often embraced by Christians who deny many of the essential elements of their own religion.  When you hear these ideas and phrases emanating from a church website or spoken from the pulpit, it’s best to go elsewhere.

Disclaimer 1: This was a collaborative effort and the end result is a bit of a mishmash.  Some of these words contain a real effort to define and encapsulate a concept for benefit of readers (that would be that old softie, Br James).  Others are humorous / tongue-in-cheek definitions to merely highlight that a word is a “shibboleth”, to help you identify a left wing speaker or church based on what they say.

Disclaimer 2: Some of these items have a political bent because to a great extent politics is religion to the progressive Christian.  That said, we at this site do not formally endorse any economic system or political party, as allegiance to Christ should overwhelm and transcend these things.

Glossary of Useful Terms

Acceptance-1 (spoken of ourselves)
Being open to all views (except the orthodox Christian ones).

Acceptance-2 (spoken of God)
There is no “sin” in the old judgmental sense; God actually approves of everything we do, or he wouldn’t have made us this way. (I credit the following source for this one: An Episcobabble Dictionary.)

See “welcoming”

Affirming Catholicism
Progressive theology, dressed up with bells, holy water, and clouds of incense.  Note that this is only applicable in the Anglican milieu; outside of that we call this sort of thing the “emergent church”.

Authentic faith
See “Emergent Church”.  “Authentic” also can mean “hip” or “like us”.

Celtic Christianity
Postmodern Christians love this stuff the way New Age hippies do.  It’s all about a romanticized Ireland, sacred objects, a sense of the ancient, jewelry, prayer beads, and contemplative spirituality.  Also there is the sense of an earthier and –this is key– less dogmatic faith.

Centering prayer / contemplative prayer / Breath prayer
This is one of the “contemplative” practices popular in postmodern Christianity.  It involves emptying the mind, and repetition of a sacred word. From Contemplative Outreach.

Centering Prayer is a receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

More detail can be found at the website.

A self congratulatory term by progressives, used in stark contrast to anyone who sits to their right on social or economic issues.

Consider the diverse center” (I credit this website for this one: An Episcobabble Dictionary.)
paying attention to everyone but orthodox Christians.

A big fad within postmodern and liberal churches, seeking to reclaim ancient meditative practices such as “centering prayer”, and walking labyrinths.  A euphemism for this is “spiritual formation.”  It looks “backward” to ancient mysticism (the “Desert Fathers”, labyrinths), and also “Eastward” to forms of Buddhism and Hinduism.  And perhaps it may also be the Christian echo of the “mindfulness” fad and hunger for New Age spirituality that is out there in secular culture. There is clearly room for some of the contemplative in Christian experience, but it can also be a mark of a church that is losing its grip on truth.

See also “centering prayer”, “lectio divina”, “labyrinth”

An interpretive framework that negates the traditional Christian Faith.  For example, a phrase like “living out one’s faith in the context of oppression” means that Jesus would want you to be socialist or communist.

See “dialogue”. The conversation goes on until the progressive viewpoint wins, then it’s over.

Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer (in place of Father-Son-Holy Spirit)
Feminist theology seeks to replace the masculine wherever it is found.  There are good and bad reasons for this–certainly God is beyond gender.  Suffice it to say, though, that this is one of the marks of a progressive church.

Modern liberal theologians have helpfully decided to strip away the so called “mythical elements” of Christianity, leaving us with basically “Jesus was a nice guy.”

The death of objective truth, a feature of postmodernism.  The deconstructionist approach to literature owes much to the writings of one Jacque Derrida, who said stuff like this: “Therefore we will not listen to the source itself in order to learn what it is or what it means, but rather to the turns of speech, the allegories, figures, metaphors, as you will, into which the source has deviated, in order to lose it or rediscover it—which always amounts to the same” (Derrida, (1982) The Margins of Philosophy, Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press: p 283).  Unfortunately, in the hands of postmodernity, the Bible is handled a la Derrida.  (Liberal “modern” scholars weren’t any nicer, to be sure)

Dialogue (used as a verb)
See “conversation.”  To aim an obnoxious monologue toward traditionalists, until they capitulate on whatever is the issue at hand.

If you are a progressive, “Diverse” is the new “Godly”.  If this word is heavily sprinkled throughout a website, the church is probably leaning far to the left.  Ironically, the chances are good that they are probably not all that diverse: Mostly white Baby Boomers, former hippies, now reasonably wealthy, who voted Green Party when it was fashionable to do so.

Divinity / the Divine
Now these are real words that have real meaning to Christians.  However, excessive use of “the divine” as a euphemism for God might indicate someone who is allergic to the word (and concept) “God”, and you should rightly develop your own allergy to such a speaker.

As a corollary to this, beware of the “divine” label being applied to places or people or things that are not God.  I just ran across this tasty morsel from a seminary grad: “My experience has shown me that when I am willing to consistently hold a space for others to grow into their full potential, they do. It is the witnessing as a loving presence which brings forth Divine potential and makes the Divine visible in the world…in choosing to live from this place I am choosing to see all relationships….human, animal, botanical as expressions of the Divine.” (To be fair this is a from an interfaith seminary, and the woman is probably perfectly nice. Due to my soft spot for students I will avoid naming names here, but you can undoubtedly find this sermon if you search on Google).

Easter Faith
A term loaned us by Rudolph Bultmann and modern liberal theologians. The miracle of Easter isn’t what happened to Jesus’ body, which of course stayed dead, but rather the faith of the early church, in whom Jesus rose again figuratively as a lovely idea.

Emerging / Emergent Church
This is an amorphous entity that is difficult to define (by intention).  One could caricature them as evangelicals who like candles and incense and old traditions (count me in on that one), but play a bit loose with truth and doctrine. Experience and relationships trump other sources of information.  “Authentic” means that we embrace uncertainty and “mystery”. Truth is morphed into “narrative” or “life journey” or “story” emerging from the “experiential”.  Is this Christianity reaching out to a postmodern world in terms it understands or is this a bad idea infecting and taking down churches?  Or a bit of both?  There is debate on this.  If you are picking a heresy, this may a bit better than old fashioned modernist theology.  Still, be wary.

Encountering the “Risen Christ”
In lefty-speak, when we think nice thoughts about Jesus at Easter or during a Sunday communion, then he rises from the dead in your heart. An actual resurrection is, of course, laughable, icky, or both.

Exclusive / Exclusivity

1.  This is when those nasty bigoted traditionalists say that Jesus is the only way.

2. When traditionalists advocate silly ideas like obeying the laws of God, and don’t embrace all forms of sexual sin as virtuous and good.  This is also called “hating” and “hurting”.

Learning by experience.  The main basis of belief for lefties, since there is no truth (postmoderns) or there is truth, but the bible is not it (modern)

Faith journey
If it feels good, do it.

(I credit this website for this one: An Episcobabble Dictionary. )

Full inclusion / inclusive
From a United Church of Christ oriented website: “To be an Open and Affirming congregation, we must explicitly state and demonstrate that we welcome, not just tolerate, but welcome the participation of all people into the life of our church. In particular, we need to be clear that welcoming all people includes those with different sexual orientations and gender identities, that is gay men, lesbian women, bisexual people and those who are transgendered.” (online here).  This is a fairly bland and demure sounding definition that probably would not be far from reality even in traditional churches.  However, this should be seen as code for a church that has fully succumbed to leftist theology.

Just about the only people who use this term are leftists–generally this means anyone to their theological right.

From the mouth of one of the horses: “‘God’ is a human symbol that allows us to speak of everything that is too big, too deep and too strange for our ordinary understanding”. (Dr. Jim Rigby, Presbyterian pastor, in an interview).

Historical Jesus
A new age guru, a prophet (who predicted nothing true but tells us to love each other), a radical communist, or a black activist, depending on who is speaking.

Holy Spirit doing a “new thing”
Promoting a non Christian idea or practice as if God is behind it.

A condition that would not exist if only communism could be tried again–let’s not ask any old Ukranians or Chinese about this, though.

Believing in moral standards.

Justice / social justice
The “Supremum bonum” or highest good of Christianity.  This means embracing tenets of communism, radical feminism and whatever the LBGT lobby tells you to.

Symbolic pilgrimage in which a handful of geriatric ladies wearing wood crosses totter around a maze while emptying their minds in order to encounter The Sacred.

Lectio Divina
One of the “contemplative” practices popular in postmodern churches.  Here is a definition from Contemplative Outreach.

Lectio Divina, literally meaning “divine reading,” is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the “ear of the heart,” as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one’s relationship with the Divine.

Left wing Christianity IS left wing politics.  They love the ideas and lingo of the Castros and Che Guevara.  The denominational seats of power of the “Mainline Churches” are basically a bastion of leftist political agitation (albeit of a milquetoast variety).  Anyway, here is a definition from

“This web site presents Liberation Theology/Theologies as efforts to think clearly about the meaning of religious faith in the context of oppression, war, poverty, inequality and environmental destruction, and the effort to live a compassionate, courageous and life-sustaining response to those conditions.”

Live into your calling
This is an exercise in nice sounding gibberish.  Here’s a similar phrasing from a Methodist church website

“We believe that the life-journey of each person involves living into the fullness of our God-created selves. We want to help spiritual seekers grow as the persons God created us to be.”

This is a favorite word of post modern Christians. Since there are no answers, they will instead celebrate the questions, and call it “Mystery.”

Nursery / Childcare
You won’t find this in many progressive churches because the Baby Boomers are done procreating (well, mostly).

Depending on context this either means gay people or Palestinians living under the Evil Empire known Israel.

Holding logically incompatible views in tension; in other words, nonsense.  Nonetheless this is elevated to high heights by postmodernism.

Something we should strive for–in leftist parlance this is what occurs when the communist / socialist faction of an institution or state finally has enough power to begin the purges.

In progressive Christianity, hunger and poverty must be the focus of all sermons that aren’t about gay issues or the environment.  Poverty can be thought of as a condition that exists in the world because of Americans that don’t recycle and the machinations of rich evil capitalists.  See also the related touchstones of “hunger” and “oppression”

Pluriform Truth
Islam, Sufism, Hinduism, Druidism, Paganism, etc., which are really just like Christianity if you think about it long enough. (Credit to this website: An Episcobabble Dictionary. )

Post-Christian culture:
This is used often not just as a description of reality, which must be admitted to be the case in Europe, and increasingly in the U.S., but more as a shrug-off excuse for why the church is so empty. This is easier than asking whether their eviscerated version of the Christian message is worth rolling out of bed for on Sunday morning.

See Emerging Church.  The Postmodern has apparently replaced the Modern, with its silly enlightenment-era belief in truth that exists and can be attained through rationality.  Postmodern theology is (roughly speaking) all questions and no answers.  Now you have no absolute truth, merely narratives or stories.  I recall the old Saturday Night Live skit, “Deep Thoughts” (I didn’t bother to try to find the exact wording; so I’m paraphrasing here from memory): “instead of questions on the math exam, we should call them impressions. If your impression differs from mine, so what; can’t we all be brothers?”

Well, this is a label that leftists generally like, so I use it out of respect for them.  It contains the word “progress”, thereby implying that they know better than those who came before, and anyone to their right can naturally be thought to be inferior, or “regressive” (see also “fundamentalist” and “thinking Christians”).  This is a bit of a misnomer, since the main “progress” is actually backwards–to the intellectual equivalent of love beads and hippies, to universalism, to a variety of heresies squelched in the early centuries of Christianity, and toward self destruction and oblivion.  If you see a beautiful old church now serving as a mosque, bar, or condominium complex, chances are it probably didn’t fail for lack of progressive theology.  Some think of progressive theology as a “breath of fresh air”, but most Christians (and non-Christian seekers) will recognize instead the stale unpleasant stench of death.

What does “progressive Christianity” mean? Well here is what “they” say it means; I post  for your edification a summary of “8 points” from the website

1.  Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2.  Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
3.  Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to: Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, Believers and agnostics, Women and men, Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, Those of all classes and abilities;
4.  Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
5.  Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
6.  Strive for peace and justice among all people;
7.  Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
8.  Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

In leftist parlance this is code for agitating for tossing out Bible and tradition.

Jesus is always described as radical, and he would want you to be a socialist and gay activist.

Rainbow flag / banner / stole / hat / sign
You can accept this as code for a church that espouses progressive theology.

“A rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978 as a symbol for the Gay Pride movement in San Francisco. The rainbow flag and symbols derived from it rapidly spread to other parts of the country, and by the mid 80s the rainbow symbol was internationally recognized as a symbol for the gay community. When gay, lesbian or transgendered people see a rainbow stripe on a church sign, they know that particular church will provide them a safe place for worship. Such symbolism in nothing new for Christian churches. In the first centuries after Christ, when Christians themselves were heavily persecuted, the fish symbol was used to mark houses where Christians could worship God in safety.” (From this site).

Relational theology is at home in the “postmodern” approach to Christianity (an example would be Brian McLaren and the “Emerging church” movement).  Now on the surface, being “relational” is a fine sounding idea.  Christians should be about relationship.

Well, here is an example of usage: “God has made us to be relational people, to be in community and in relationship with each other,” she said. “We worship, we pray, we celebrate and we grieve together in community, in relationship with other people.”(

Sacred Space
The word “sacred” means “holy” or “set apart”, and is a real Christian word, but watch out if it seems overused or misused.  Our friends, the progressives, love to gas about “sacred space” or “sacred time”, but often this is more about glorifying a yoga mat or a maze (see “Celtic” spirituality elsewhere).  Also, it seems easier for them to use “the sacred” and “the divine” as substitute words for “God” or “Jesus”, to which they have an aversion.  Mostly, these guys would not recognize the sacred if it bit them in the arse.

Spiritual formation
See “contemplative”.  Note that this isn’t the same thing as “Christian formation” which is another name for Sunday school.

Something about –uh–actually I don’t think anyone really knows what this word means but it is popular on the Left, and a lot of good feeling is projected on it.  It is therefore another shibboleth, an identifying Mark to help you identify the progressive church.  So beware if you see it being used a lot in sermons or websites.

Thinking Christians
This of course is a synonym for “progressive”.  Anyone to the right of the person or group claiming this title is naturally a “non-thinking Christian” (see also “fundamentalist”).

Thinking clearly about [insert doctrine or Christian idea here]
This means coming around to the non Christian point of view.

acceptance of all theologies except orthodox Christianity, which is by definition “intolerant.” (Credit to this website: An Episcobabble Dictionary. )

Welcoming / Welcoming and Affirming
This is code for a far left stance on the “hot button” issue of homosexuality.