Here we are again, discussing something that “gets my goat,” milks my goat and makes goat cheese … or something.
Our terms and labels get us twisted into strange knots sometimes.
The more I read the notions of “progressives” who still think of themselves as Christian (or any particular religion), the more I’m dumbfounded (not necessarily founded-on-dumbness but dumbstruck, and not because I consider these folks dumb either).
Maybe I’m dumb, but I can’t stay a tweedle-dum for long.
The major thing that gets me is the continuing use of words I now think are primarily nonsense, words I once used because I was told they communicated something. A person simply chooses to re-define obsolete terms such as “God,” “Spirit,” “spirituality” and the like, but these words can mean virtually anything to anyone, and they have always been like that … placeholders for something ineffable, I suppose (like YHWH or LORD for “I Am Existence”–say what?).
A “mindful Christian progressive” tells me that “spirit” is not a supernatural term, even when used by a person who identifies as a “Christian,” a “believer” and “follower of Christ” and still looks to the Bible for instruction. He argues that he believes the way “the Mystics” believed (not sure who is lumped into this group) and now he uses their words, the way they meant them, in some kind of non-mystical way (and why were they called “mystics” again?).
In other words, the words passed along for centuries are essentially meaningless except to each believer who “knows” just what they mean by them.
Other progressives nod as if they understand.
I call that mumbo, jumbo and a jumble of meaningless nonsense.
In my opinion, these folks want to stay in the Christian fold or keep the label so badly that they hold on to the same old words; they “update” ancient words with no content and magically turn those words into something “new.” Perhaps that makes sense psychologically, I don’t know.
One progressive quotes a study that somehow proves we’re “hard-wired” to be religious.
Poppycock and balderdash.
I say we’re “hard-wired” (by Nature) to be secular … which has to do with being curious, wondering, reasoning, and yes, imaginative beings with generally good intentions.
Religion comes in when we get carried away with the imagination part. Institutional Imagination equals Religion.
I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, as long as people admit it, that they’re up front and honest about the fact that they really don’t know what they’re talking about but they call it “Religion” or “Faith” or “God” or “Spirituality.”
As I say, using words as placeholders is one thing, but these folks need to be honest. They are molding words into something that makes sense to them but to no one else (I’d guess “progressive reformers” like Jesus and other heretics wouldn’t have a clue what these folks mean … we’re still trying to figure out what those reformers were saying!).
I guess I can’t stay dumb (or mute) about these things.
I like many progressive Christians (and used to BE one), though I often don’t know what they’re talking about … or what makes them so “progressive” … or what makes them so “Christian.”
And, let me add, if “Progressive Christians” are essentially saying they believe in social justice, equality and peacemaking then why not just call yourself “progressive” and join other progressives with faith and without? If the point is to “progress” then just do it, which might mean leaving the religious labels, and nonsensical words, behind.
(one pastor got so mad that I was challenging his “progressive” views on FB he suggested it was because I’ve been “out of religion” so long I don’t know what religious people think. He forgot that I’m married to a Christian minister and engage believers all the time through my writing and teaching)