Update: Categories Clarification

Last week I posted that Progressive is not Liberal and also on the term Evangelical. Both got good response. It was part of a bigger conversation that his happening at several nodes around the interwebs. Here is a rundown of some of them.

Carol Howard Merritt from Tribal Church.org did a god job clarifying her position here. She says:

I agree that progressive and liberal are theological terms as well as sociological ones.

I like “progressive” as a theological term, because the most vital aspect of my faith is a liberating one. As someone who moved from evangelicalism, a key to my spiritual evolution has been understanding the freedom of God and God’s continual liberating process. As we move from abolitionism, to the child-labor movement, to anti-poverty, to civil rights, to gender equality, to creation care, to affirming LGBTs, this has been an incredible, liberating time in our American theology. It’s exciting how our theology has often been at the forefront of making these changes. “Progressive” recognizes and celebrates God’s expanding freedom.

That said, I think that Tony’s right in wanting a new term. “Progressive” did seem to move directly from the political sphere to the theological one, so I’m a bit uncomfortable with that. Also, I believe in the *ideal* of progression and expanding freedom, but I’m afraid that the ideal does not always match with reality. For instance, our business practices no longer allow for child labor in the US, but we thoughtlessly employ children overseas. Is that true progress? When we use the term “progressive” are we feeding a modernist mindset and deluding ourselves into thinking that everything is getting better? Those are my concerns…

Daniel Kirk continues to be a blog worth reading and he has had a lot to contribute lately.

Greg Horton had a characteristically intelligent and … Horton-esqe take. Deep stuff at the Parish.

Austin Roberts, my close friend, focused on the Evangelical aspect , wanting to tighten it up a little bit. We disagree about that. But the conversation is vibrant.

Brian McLaren  made some predictions and pointed people to both Tony Jones’ and Roger Olson’s contributions.

Speaking of Roger Olson, he was a guest on Doug Pagitt’s radio show in hour 2 this week and took it up a WHOLE other notch. (it’s also available on I-tunes)

This has given me a lot to think about and I continue to flesh out the frameworks and philosophical underpinnings that drive this conversation.  Please feel free to point me to any resources or locations that may be appropriate.

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