I gave up having a Plan A or B or even C a long time ago. The old joke is they just make God laugh anyway. But the real reason is repeatedly in my life I have watched myself travel from point to point without benefit of an itinerary and yet get to some fascinating and unexpected places that seem unrelated on the surface, but which, in retrospect, were all connected. With the advantage of hindsight, they looked like a well-thought out plan or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. In truth, each place led to a new place I could not have booked in advance. None were foreseen or could have been planned for.
Two weeks ago I shared the story of my evolution from an orthodox theistic liberal Christian to a heterodox non-theistic progressive Christian to simply a follower of Jesus. That is a lot of evolving in a short time. It is like evolving from being a Neanderthal to a Homo sapiens in one 67-year lifetime. Social Philosopher William Irwin Thompson has said, “For the first time in human evolution, the individual life is long enough, and the cultural transformation swift enough, that the individual mind is now a constituent player in the global transformation of human culture.” I’m not sure how much my mind has transformed Christianity, but lots of folk thinking like I do have. Continue reading Who knew? Unitarians Evolve!→
As someone who has self-identified as a “progressive Christian,” for more than a decade, I have often been asked why I needed that modifier. My answer is that I can’t say, “I’m a Christian” without choking. I explain that I used to think of myself as a liberal Christian, but while liberal Christians are usually on the right side of history regarding social justice and human rights issues, they still adhere to the traditional liturgies, creeds and doctrines of the church, which too often have perpetuated the abuse they oppose. A time came when my consciousness was raised. I could no longer adhere to them with integrity. A progressive Christian is willing to let go of those traditions and formularies to seek new ways of being the church. But after nearly ten years of exploring that avenue while at St Matthew-in-the-City and nearly thirty years of following scholarship on the historical Jesus, I’ve come to accept that the institution as it is cannot permit such deviation from the company line and still maintain control. It would prefer to die than change. Continue reading Why Unitarians need to Save Jesus→
Many present day Unitarians have a negative view of Christianity, some for good reasons. They have experienced or were a victim of one of its toxic versions. Others formed their opinions from the side-lines. Media accounts that lumped all Christians together, reported on Christian adherence to patriarchy, opposition to a woman’s right to choose, intolerance of other religious faiths, condemnation of the LGBTQ community, belief in creationism, and reliance on the Bible as the literal word of God, to mention but a few. Continue reading Progressive Christianity: Oxymoron or Unitarian?→
I want to thank Marion for inviting me to share this time with you. While I have looked forward to being with you, I wish I had reflected longer before offering the topic: The Past, Present and Future of Progressive Religion in Aotearoa New Zealand. You invited me for one 30 to 40 minute talk, not a six-part series of lectures. So I have struggled with how to slice this topic so it is thin enough to permit light to shine through it.