Doug Pagitt writes his 10 things I wish everyone knew about Progressive Evangelicals but with something of an 'over the pond' flavour and so I wonder what his ten might look like for UK progressives.
- We are often members of a range of networks and are only recently converging in a more obvious, organised and strategic way. Working with Christians across other streams of the faith we find we can learn from one another.
- We are uncomfortable with labels when they close down, exist only to perpetuate straw (wo)men or limit scope in conversation. Because we are those re-imagining our faith, labels are not always helpful. We believe Scripture is less propositional truth than an invitation into relationship with a person who is Truth: Jesus Christ.
- Conversation about our structures, style, theology and ways of thinking are important as we listen to the Spirit, understanding at the same time that the Spirit does not behave in ways that are contrary to the Scriptures.
- Progressive evangelicals are willing to re-evaluate their stance on issues through the study of the Scriptures in community. Progressive evangelicals champion the idea of the interdependence between systems and institutions and daily life and faith and so plug faith in to economics, politics, the environment and other fragile enterprises. We are hoping always to read the Bible honestly, confessing not only our faith but also our inability to be right about our faith due to the suppositions and baggage that we bring to the Bible: we are not neutral readers, hence community discernment is key.
- We are anchored into historical Christianity but also Global Christianity, understanding again our interdependence, that the way faith operates in the West has significance for the way it operates in the Global South, for example, and vice versa. We find safe spaces for constructive theological conversation across difference and disparities, often online and then seek to root that thinking in practical action.
- We are people of vision, less interested in religious structures and systems and more inspired by seeking ways to engage the human spirit with the Holy Spirit for the transformation of present structures and systems that define and control life as we know it so that we might live with more harmony between God and one another.
- We are optimists anticipating new ways for churches to form Christlike people who join God in the healing of the world. We embrace fun and joy and sense limitless possibilities for people of faith, co-working with God. Jesus is our ultimate reality and we seek to advance his Kingdom as we await his return.
- We see Christ's light in the world and the sciences and the arts and look for what God might be saying to us there about himself. We celebrate human uniqueness and seek to make room for the various love languages with which unique individuals speak with God, we will not all wear our faith in the same way. Our churches cater for diversity.
- We don’t assume we have the answers. We are not naive about sin and darkness and that is why we understand the imperative of inner transformation through the Spirit as a precursor to the transformation of human systems and institutions. We will need to grow networks across diverse groups to bring in the Kingdom and so collaboration is important even if it sometimes feels difficult.
- We are excited by the Good News of a radical Jesus and seek God's economy, reign, rule and governing of the cosmos by praying that like him we might become capable of an audacious generosity towards all people.
So that's my attempt at a UK ten for progressive evangelicalism. There was quite a thread about this over on facebook so I am grateful to conversation partners there.