this is no longer my blog

Monday, March 28, 2005


Point 1

By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who…

1. Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus;

Having found "an approach." This leaves the door open for some of the points that follow, about approaches to the Divine and truth vs. Truth, but we won't delve into that, at this point. We will just discuss Jesus. We believe, and confess, Jesus to be the incarnation of God. Jesus is Immanuel, "God among us." So it makes sense that through his teaching and example Jesus would reveal God to us.

So what do Jesus' teachings and example reveal to us about God? Well, he was friends with the common folk. His best friends were fisher men, tax collectors, lepers, demon possessed women. He called out the sins and transgressions of those in power letting them know that they weren't "all that." They weren't as good as they thought they were. And this riff-raff and these sinners that he was hanging out with were better than the chief priests and Pharisees and their associates because at least the fishermen and the tax collectors and the prostitutes and all the rest of the people hanging out at the bottom of the barrel didn't pretend to be what they weren't. They didn't ignore their own sins and condemn other people and their sinfulness.

Jesus was about widening the circle of God's mercy. He was all about telling people that there was plenty of room at God's table for everyone. It didn't matter so much who they were or what they had done; there wasn't anything that a little bit of God's grace couldn't wipe clean. He said that the meek and the poor and the persecuted and those who were mourning were blessed. He made time to bless children. He preached about good Samaritans and loving fathers who threw parties for their wayward sons. He preached about a woman who diligently searched for her lost coin and a shepherd who left 99 sheep to retrieve the one that had strayed. He taught that living water was offered even to a Samaritan woman who was "living in sin" with a man who was not her husband. He said that what we do to the "least of these" - the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned - we do to God. Jesus taught that we should be concerned about the plank sticking out of our own eye before we focus on and condemn people because of the speck they have in their eye. He said that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who would persecute us, and when they strike us on one cheek we are to turn and offer our other one. And he showed us that his love for us was so amazing and big and great that he was willing to die a horrible, gruesome, painful death so that we would not have to do so.

That's what Jesus reveals to us about God. That God is a God of love who reaches out and cares for the least and the lost and the last. That God loves us with an unconditional and unending love, and that God's deep desire is that we be united with God and with each other. It reveals that God seems more concerned with love and forgiveness than judgment and condemnation; even the worst kind of sinner can find redemption and love.

So, that's what I've got for that one. I think it seems like a pretty obvious point, I mean to call oneself a Christian I think one would need to agree with this statement. Although one could argue semantics, and replace "an approach" with "THE approach," but as I've said before that's not what this post was about. This post was about Jesus, and what approaching God through Jesus would mean for our image of the Divine.

(Point 1 taken from The 8 Points at the Center for Progressive Christianity)

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