Tag: progressive Christianity

Unsurprisingly, progressive church leaders were as taken with “el Commandante” as were progressive political leaders:

On 28 Feb 2006 Episcopal Church of the USA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold met Fidel Castro in Havana. Episcopal News Service reported on that glorious occassion, with what can best be described as a tin-ear to the human rights abuses and pervasive atmosphere of fear that pervades Cuban life.

Episcopal News Service reported on the meeting:

…The two-and-a-half-hour conversation — conducted across a long conference table with one delegation on each side — began as Griswold spoke of being a senior at Harvard in 1959 when Castro visited the campus. “You approached in a boat on the Charles River,” Griswold recalled. “I was among a group of students who waved to you from a bridge.”
Recalling the campus setting, Castro asked: “Has anyone blockaded you for 47 years? Has anyone blockaded your thoughts? Lies are an attempt to block people’s minds.
“No one has all the truth,” Castro continued.
“Truth is larger than any one perspective,” Griswold concurred. “The truth is always unfolding.”

Read more at Anglican Ink blog.

Canadian researchers David Haskell of Wilfrid Laurier University and his colleagues Kevin Flatt and Stephanie Burgoyne have conducted a study of churches that finds a strong correlation between traditional theology and numerical growth. The growing churches tend to be conservative:

Those in the growing churches are significantly more likely than those at the ones in decline to agree with statements such as “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb,” and “God performs miracles in answer to prayer.” They’re also more likely to pray and read the Bible daily, the researchers found.

The authors surveyed 2255 attendees from 22 churches (13 of which were declining and 9 of which were growing). They also surveyed their church’s clergy (29).

“What we found is that the conservative theological positioning of clergy and attendees is a significant predictor of numerical church growth,” Prof. Haskell said.

On the subject of mission, unsurprisingly, the declining churches were more interested in social justice, and much less interested in evangelism.

Only 50 per cent of pastors in declining parishes agreed that it was very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians, compared with 100 per cent among the growing churches.

Read more at Globe and Mail. An abstract of the study is available here.

One of the more interesting and disturbing revelations from John Podesta’s hacked emails, is that he created fake grassroots organizations to try to subvert the Catholic Church from within. Two front groups were mentioned as Podesta responded to a suggestion that there needed to be a “Catholic Spring” in which lay people rise up in opposition to tradition minded bishops:

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.”

You can read more on this from an editorial at Boston Globe. More information is available also from Catholic News, which provided a response from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“There have been recent reports that some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the church for short-term political gain. If true, this is troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country.”

Other information recently reported by Catholic News Agency indicates, disturbingly, that at least one of these two “grassroots” organizations received a large sum of money from everyone’s favorite atheist billionaire philanthropist:

The memo lists Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good under the section “grassroots organizing and civic engagement.” It indicates the group received at least $450,000 in financial support from the massive George Soros philanthropy network from 2006-2010, when the foundations also operated under the name Open Society Institute (OSI).

Wacky Episcopalian progressives are at it again. In a move that basically represents a middle finger to traditional Christianity, a controversial statue is again being installed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “Christa” is a 250 pound bronze figure of a nude woman, with arms outstretched to look like Jesus on the cross.

This is not the first attempt to install this statue at the Cathedral. In 1984, the bishop of New York stepped in and overruled the local clergy. As was reported in a previous edition of the New York Times:
Bishop Walter Dennis accused the Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev. James Park Morton, of ”desecrating our symbols.”
Biishop Dennis, who is in charge of the diocese while Bishop Paul Moore Jr. is on a leave of absence, said the display was ”theologically and historically indefensible.”

What has changed? The times apparently.

“We have people who worship here who expressed concerns,” Ms. Schubert said on Monday, as the statue was being put into place. Still, “the leadership of the cathedral said this is 2016, not 1984,” she added. “Surely we can have a woman on the cross.”

Read more at New York Times.

Of course, an old adage comes to mind: Those who marry the spirit of this age will find themselves widowed in the next.

We have previously written of the case of a faithful priest forced out over gay marriage In the Episcopal diocese of Kentucky. I have also since heard privately from a friend about a Presbyterian minister in Montana who may be about to resign in a struggle with some liberal members of his congregation.

I know of a large moderate-to-conservative church in an eastern seaboard city, which hired a progressive pastor a few years ago; the results have been nearly disastrous. Once teeming with youth and boasting a Sunday attendance well over 1200, this number has since plunged nearly in half as the more conservative members have fled. The church is now struggling financially.

To those of you who happen to be in a successful traditionalist church: Do not be complacent! Your situation is only a fortunate accident waiting to be undone. If you are not on your vestry, or session, or board of elders, you should find the time to become more engaged. Sure, you are busy and don’t have time for this sort of thing; you have all consuming careers, and your plate is full raising your children. Left leaning activists are somewhat more likely to be childless, young, single, lightly employed–just the sort to have the time and energy to sit on and dominate committees.

Realize that progressive activists are seeking control anywhere they can get it. If you don’t have a seat on the search committee for your next pastor you may be disheartened by the results. You may come to realize too late the major betrayal that has occurred, as you start cringing at the “new thing the spirit is doing” at your church–at the heresy that is emanating from the pulpit and from your kids’ new Sunday school curriculum. You will find yourself gagging over the “breath of fresh air” touted by those who have been duped by the Evil One, and can’t recognize the stench of death.

We can no longer assume that the problem will be limited, or that things will get sorted out in the end. The head of the deacons at the aforementioned large church said, “sure he’s not a good pastor but we can wait him out.” The winners in these struggles will be the handful of LGBT activists who gained all the seats of power, and a few old people who just plan to be loyal to the end so they can be buried in the church yard. Everyone else will be worshipping in school gyms, joining different faith communities, or giving up on church altogether. Eventually the remnant congregation will be forced to sell the building, or it will decay to the point of being unsafe. Where your church used to be located you will someday drive past a church-shaped shell that has been transformed into a condominium complex, nightclub, or mosque.

We can no longer “play nice” or “just go along to get along”. The foe is ferocious, determined, and willing to stop at nothing to get their way. They’ll win or destroy a church trying. (Stepping aside and letting them win is no act of noble peacekeeping–destruction is also virtually assured if they win). To the left, victory must be total–there’s no room for compromise. Once they’ve won, there will not be any chance for a “do over” after the giving drops, and the majority of faithful Christians have left.

Ultimately, the victory is God’s, and those who tinkered with theology and wrecked the great churches will be called to account. We can and must pray for the churches that we love, and for the faithful who serve them. We should, of course, continue to hold in mind that the church is its people, not its wood and bricks. Our citizenship is a heavenly country where the buildings are everlasting. We know that if called to do so, then we may have to abandon these temporary structures to the enemy. But let’s not give up without a fight.

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(Photo: Edward Burne-Jones – The Adoration of the Magi; in the public domain)

“Wise men still seek him” or so proclaims a popular slogan that appears on cards and facebook posts this time of year1 (well, more at Christmas, but I digress). Relieved I was therefore to see the headline of a recently discovered copy of a 2014 Time magazine that boldly proclaimed, “The Search for Jesus.” Aha, thought I, the search is on again. Another batch of wise men are on the move.

Reading the article naturally deflated me a bit–these men apparently weren’t of the same mind as those earlier magi. They seemed more “wise guys” than wise men. Like so many popular articles that purport to unearth or reexamine the “historical Jesus”, this Time Magazine piece merely rehashed the statements of Christianity’s fifth column, revisionist scholars like Rudolph Bultmann and the members of the “Jesus seminar.” The summary statement of the article went like this:

This time of year, many people will conclude that those scholars are asking the wrong questions. They’ll answer as one reader did in the letters to the editor following the 1996 story: “It doesn’t matter who Jesus of Nazareth was or what he was,” he wrote. “What’s most important is the lessons he taught.” (You can find this online at Time Magazine’s website.)

Perhaps what is meant by “wise” is the root of the issue. One quickly recalls the statement of St. Paul the apostle:
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
(First Corinthians 3,Holy Bible, King James version).

Of course an ancient Hebrew proverb tells us The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10, Holy Bible, King James Version). The “fear of the Lord” and “knowledge of the Holy” are roughly synonymous (if we recognize here an example of the Jewish poetic form known as “parallelism”). To know the holy God is to revere Him (“fear” here connotes more than dread or terror–it is fuller of the awe of the numinous, and reverence for that which is beyond our mortal coil). The reverence for God and knowledge of the Holy are things that precede and are prerequisites for attaining wisdom.

One might go a step further and say that the journey toward wisdom requires more than a mere “head knowledge” of the Holy. Recalling Jesus’ words to his disciples the evening before his death, it would appear that in some mysterious way an encounter with the Holy is required: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” This indicates that the beginning of wisdom is an encounter with (or the gift of/the activity of) the Holy Spirit of God.

In the end, the slogan should perhaps be reworded this way: “truly wise men still find him”, or better yet, “wise men still adore him”. The “wise guys”, those who know not the holy, who are wise in the world’s fashion, might find themselves forever seeking in vain.

May you have an encounter with the Holy. May you seek the one born to be “Messiah”, and find Him.

1The great Feast of Epiphany among other things celebrates the coming of the Magi to worship Jesus. Traditionally, this is commemorated on January 6, twelve days after Christmas.

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.)

Affirming
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.

Compassionate
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.

Contemplative
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”

Context
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.

Conversation
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.

Demythologize
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.”

Deconstructionism
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.

Diversity
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”.

Experiential
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.

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

God
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.

Hunger
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.

Judgmental
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.

Labyrinth
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.

Liberation
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 liberationtheology.org:

“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.”

Mystery
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).

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

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

Peace
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.

Poverty
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.

Postmodern
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?”

Progressive
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 ProgressiveChristianity.org:

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.

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

Radical
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
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.”(http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/article/episcopal-youth-get-fired-faith-and-mission)

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.

Sustainability
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.

Tolerance
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.

 

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One of the more prominent scholars of the 20th century has just passed from the scene.  Marcus Borg was a liberal scholar famous (and infamous) for being part of the “Jesus seminar.”  Like many in Christianity’s left wing, he denied the Resurrection of Jesus and the idea of an afterlife.  (One of my ideas for the website I’m working on is to have a “rogues’ gallery” of personages who have done harm to the orthodox and traditional faith of the Christian Church, and Borg would be among the top candidates).

To his credit, he is reputed to have been a genial fellow:  “He patiently listened to all sides of the debates and knew the strengths of evangelicalism and historic orthodoxy, even if he pointed more often to weaknesses. Borg was the kind of progressive/liberal theologian who welcomed evangelicals to the table—as long as they would listen, as well” (From article linked below).  He was a friend of N. T. Wright, with whom he disagreed on many points.

For now, his soul is in the hands of God, and I wish peace to who were close to him.

For more on his legacy, check out this article from Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/january-web-only/died-marcus-borg-liberal-jesus-scholar-and-friendly-provoca.html?start=2

From the Living Church comes this sad news:  “The Rt. Rev. James Jelinek, interim rector of St. Paul’s Parish, K Street [in Washington, DC], since August 2013, has written about the parish entering a phase of discernment about women’s ordination to the priesthood and same-sex marriage.”

Up until this time, “…in order to keep our focus on what unites us — the centrality of the Eucharist and our mission as the Body of Christ — we have tended to avoid addressing some critical issues, including the role of women clergy at St. Paul’s and the blessing of same-sex unions/marriages. During the current transition, we have begun to explore these questions.”

I think it is probably foregone how the discernments will conclude, and there is probably no stopping the progressive steamroller here as has been the case in other churches that have fallen.  Still, we should pray for this church and hope that they can keep that centrality of focus on Eucharist and mission to which they had been holding up to this point.

Read it all here: http://www.livingchurch.org/changes-st-paul’s-k-st