Everyone has a voice, and a choice to use it well, use it poorly, or not to use it at all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Few Reasons I'm Sad You Came Out as a Progressive Christian

This post is written in response to a piece written on the Formerly Fundie blog by Mr. Corey, titled "10 Reasons I'm Glad I Came Out as a Progressive Christian." If you haven't read it yet, this post will make more sense if you do.

For those who would rather not read the original I'll simply list his 10 points. This is necessarily an oversimplification, but I'd rather summarize than add to his words:

1. I’m no longer the person in the room with the strangest views.
2. I don’t have to vote for the Republican candidate for president simply because they’re a Republican.
3. Having the freedom to openly re-explore and rediscover my faith is exhilarating.
4. I’ve been welcomed by a community that doesn’t insist I become a clone of them.
5. I now know the new friends I make won’t one day walk away because they find out I’m progressive.
6. I no longer have to find creative theological arguments for why I’m excluding people.
7. I’ve learned how diverse the body of Christ is, and I’m actually free to express how much I appreciate that.
8. I’m free to follow the teachings of Jesus wherever that takes me.
9. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not.
10. I’m comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.

The first thought that springs to my mind is that most of these ten new developments in Mr. Corey's life have applied to me for quite a while. I'm no saint, yet I am also not a Progressive by these standards - in fact, I belong to the group Mr. Corey contrasts with progressive Christians - conservative evangelicals. 

The second thing I noticed is that most of the ten on the list involve public opinion - or at least the opinion of one's own group. Public opinion is important, but much less important than the truth and mission of the gospel which we as Christians devote ourselves to. 
I think what Mr. Corey is actually saying is that he realized he had very different political and moderately different theological views than the Christians he was hanging around. So, he decided to let them know he had different views, and maybe start hanging around Christians with more similar views. That sounds a little like Martin Luther, so as a conservative Evangelical I can't say that is necessarily wrong.

I do take issue with his decision to present conservative evangelicals as the enemy of each of the positives in the list above. Sin is not a conservative or progressive issue -it is a human issue. Likewise, his presentation of the progressive crowd as the only place one can find peace and authenticity seems pretty, well, un-progressive.

It sounds like Mr. Corey found more Christian treatment from the progressive Christians in his life than from the conservative evangelical Christians in his life. That is lamentable, but it does not mean a political ideology is the key to becoming like Christ. Christ is the key to becoming like Christ

So, if you have different political views than your friends, first realize politics is not the salvation of the world. Jesus is, and good men and women in political power are one of many instruments He uses to guide its course. In a community of Christians who realize Christ is the source of our unity, peace, and authenticity, "coming out" as progressive or regressive or democrat or communist ceases to matter much at all. It is like announcing to a group of golfing friends that you changed views on the proper way to make a rugby tackle, or telling a the executives of your business you decided to write your memos on a different brand of paper. 

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