Sunday, March 14, 2010

Progressive Lent: 2nd Principle of Progressive Christianity

Lenten Online Series
by Pastor Durrell Watkins
February 21, 2010

This Lent, Sunshine Cathedral is offering this free online study series, to invite us all into a deeper experience of the Progressive, Positive, and Practical spirituality that we teach.

The Sunshine Cathedral is affiliated with The Center for Progressive Christianity, whose mission is:
- To reach out to those for whom organized religion has proved ineffectual, irrelevant, or repressive, as well as to those who have given up on or are unacquainted with it.
- To uphold evangelism as an agent of justice and peace.
- To give a strong voice both in the churches and the public arena to the advocates of progressive Christianity.
- To support those who embrace the search, not certainty.

2nd Principle
We Affirm Religious Pluralism.
We can be faithful within our tradition even while respecting that other traditions are valide for those who are faithful within them.

We need to remember that the Christian tradition is diverse. It has never been an ideologically unified movement, and as the years/centuries/millennia have rolled on, the movement has become ever more diverse. As the Jesus movement began as a Jewish movement, we have obviously borrowed from Judaism (our "Old Testament", the celebration of Pentecost, the messianic concept, etc.), but we have also borrowed from other traditions (some common Christian beliefs were borrowed from Persian Zoroastrianism; celebrating winter/Christmas and spring/Easter festivals were borrowed from European paganism; the "Logos" was borrowed from ancient Greek philosophy, etc.). And, as science has advanced, we've had to negotiate with, incorporate, and re-examine our stories and traditions in the light of scientific discoveries. Christianity is an evolving movement, touched by the cultures it has touched, borrowing from other traditions even while developing and reinterpreting its own. Faithfulness to our tradition doesn't mean being intolerant of others; in fact, we owe much of what we are to other traditions. We are Christian not because there is no other way to be in relationship with God, but because we have found that the path leading to God that best meets our needs is the path we find demonstrated by Jesus (who taught, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."). We wouldn't want people to condemn us for our faith; and so as followers of Jesus, we don't condemn anyone else for theirs.

Prayer Treatment: I can be faithful within my tradition while loving and respecting others who are faithful within their own. Perhaps, we can even learn from one another. Amen.

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