Progressive Christian Life
Talk About Your Faith. Very often, if we can talk about an experience, we’re more fully able to experience the experience. Our ability to reflect on it can enhance and amplify it. So it is with our spirituality. If we can find words that at least begin to describe what it is like to know God and follow Jesus, we’ll be able to know God more intimately and follow the Christ more fully. And we’ll also be better able to invite others to join us. So a great exercise in your Zoe chapter is for each student to share the way they would introduce their spirituality or faith, and how they would describe what Zoe is all about. (For more about progressive Christian identity, see the 8 Point Welcome of ProgressiveChristianity.org )
Start with the elevator pitch - a sentence or two. Then move on to the long paragraph. Here are some examples of elevator pitches:
I’m a progressive Christian…
…We follow Jesus, who taught us to love unconditionally.
…We know God as radical compassion, not as a Guy in the Sky.
…We’re about kind and just deeds, not creeds.
…We are pro-love: we’re pro-justice and pro-environment and pro-choice and pro-same-sex-relationships.
…For us, God is way more awesome than anybody's idea about God.
…We believe that other religions can be as good for others as ours is for us.
…Our faith evolves, just like life on earth evolves.
…We take the Bible seriously because we don’t have to take it literally.
…For us, intriguing spiritual questions are a lot more interesting than religious answers.
Here are some long paragraphs:
Our Zoe group follows the way of Rabbi Jesus, who discovered that the center of his being was not his body or his ego, but God, who is unconditional love. He taught people to discover this for themselves, and to practice the radical compassion that follows from this awareness. He organized the Christian church to cultivate this awareness and put it into action in the world. He demonstrated unconditional love so profoundly that the Roman government considered him a threat to its authority and killed him on a cross. Out of love he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus’ followers turned the cross into the symbol of his unconditional compassion, and his church has strived to follow his way ever since.
Our Zoe group is an open circle of friends spreading kindness among us and beyond. In joyful worship around the bread and wine of communion, in contemplative prayer, in Bible study, in action for justice, and in fun and fellowship together, we humbly aim to follow Jesus’ way of unconditional compassion. God is love… and Jesus leads us ahead on the way of love.
In our Zoe group, the degree of our kindness is the true test of our faith. How we treat other people matters much, much more than belief in doctrines. We strive to know God as love in contemplative prayer, and to put that love into action in the world around us, following the example of Jesus. We make room for many points of view about Christianity: we don’t have a fixed “statement of faith”. We embrace our faith tradition with curiosity and creativity. If something in our faith tradition counters kindness, common sense, and scientific consensus, we re-interpret it or we abandon it. We seek inspiration from other faith traditions, understanding that they may be as good for their followers as Christianity is for us. Divine love leads us to act for social and environmental justice – and it knows no bounds of creed, ethnicity, or sexuality. We fully affirm same-sex relationships and marriages, and all our leadership positions are open to those of any gender identity.
Come up with your own "elevator" and "paragraph" descriptions of your faith!