Are They Really Christian?

“I want so-called “progressive” Christians to RT the following: It’s no sin to be in a homosexual relationship. I support same-sex marriage.”  I saw the tweet scroll across my screen as I browsed through the webosphere on a Monday morning.  The challenge came from a prominent Atheist blogger/tweeter.  I thought for a second of retweeting it myself, but stopped.  The topic of homosexual relationships is very touchy.  I do consider myself a “Progressive Christian” and while I support equal rights and treatment of homosexual individuals, I’m still formulating my own thoughts about the “sinfulness” of the issue and don’t feel comfortable making so bold a statement.  What struck me however was in the 16 hours since it was originally tweeted  it had been retweeted 21 times and favorited 3.  Apparently there were other progressive Christian’s who had no qualms with taking a stand.

As conservative theology and right wing Christianity seems to be taking a stronger public hold of policy I’ve discovered a disturbingly and equally extreme new group of Christians.  They call themselves “Liberal Christians” or “Leftwing Christians”.  They make statements like…

“The authenticity and authority of the Bible is debatable”

“Jesus was a great teacher, that’s all”

“Prophecy and miracles don’t/can’t happen”

“Heaven and Hell are what we make it.  They aren’t places after death”

In reading the blogs, comments, and general statements from these groups the thought keeps coming up “What really is a Christian?”  Are Christian’s those who believe in a 6000 year old earth made in 7 literal days where the Bible is the incontrovertible word of God, Jesus is the son of that God, and we are all here to disciple others to His teachings in preparation for the second coming?  Or are Christian’s those who believe science has shown the inaccuracies of the Bible, God may exist but is quite passive in our lives, and Jesus was simply a good teacher providing us with insight how to live in harmony with our fellow man?

Jesus loved everyone and all you need is love.  The problem I struggle with is whether you take the literal definition of “Christian” (Like Christ) or whether you take the broader sociopolitical definition.  Can you call yourself a Christian in the same definition that you call yourself a follower of Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, or Bono?  At what point do you take away so much of who Jesus said he was, that we miss the point of what he was teaching?

While I’m no gun-toting, homophobic, Bible thumping, right wing, conservative.  I struggle with the extreme to which those who wish to disassociate themselves with those ideals have gone.  Liberal Christian’s frighten me to the extent they sound very much like Agnostics who wish to use the teachings of Jesus as a roadmap to live by. Their interpretation of grace is so extreme that essentially there is no “sin”.  We have gotten to a point where either everything is a sin or nothing is a sin.   The Bible is either infallible or a good story.

To me progressive Christianity isn’t a departure from the core Biblical roots.  It shouldn’t be thought of in the same sense as progressive politics where it means you are a step in a new direction.  If we’re not moving toward God (progressing) we are moving away from God (regressing).  Can you call yourself a “Progressive Christian” when you find yourself actually moving further from God?  That thought should keep us progressing to a more open-minded sense of direction where science, debate, and discovery have a place in our spiritual growth and neither Liberal nor Conservative extreme has all the answers.  In religious terms, Benedictine Monks are progressive not hipsters sitting at Starbucks debating how they “love Jesus, but hate religion”.

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5 thoughts on “Are They Really Christian?

  1. “If we’re not moving toward God (progressing) we are moving away from God (regressing). Can you call yourself a “Progressive Christian” when you find yourself actually moving further from God? That thought should keep us progressing to a more open-minded sense of direction where science, debate, and discovery have a place in our spiritual growth and neither Liberal nor Conservative extreme has all the answers. In religious terms, Benedictine Monks are progressive not hipsters sitting at Starbucks debating how they ‘love Jesus, but hate religion’.” Totally 🙂

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  2. Mmm. I would have retweeted, if I twittered at all. I think that a Christian is a follower of Christ, and I follow as best I can in my own way. But Peter was told not to call any animal or person unclean, whom God had called clean.

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  3. My daughter went to Spring Valley Academy in Centerville, Ohio this year. Another family found a love letter that their daughter had written to my daughter. The other family went to SVA, pulled my daughter out of class, and threatened that if she ever spoke to their daughter again then they would embarrass her.

    Afterword, I asked the school to provide a safer environment for my daughter. I even tried talking to the other family, but the other family works for Kettering Hospital and has more clout in the church and the school. They ignored the request not to harass my daughter. They went to every class, lunch, and after school event where my daughter and the other girl were together; looking for any opportunity to create more trouble for my daughter. Finally, the day year books were handed out, the other girl approached my daughter and asked her to sign her yearbook. The girls naively exchanged yearbooks, and the next day the girl’s father was in the principles office screaming that something had to be done to my daughter.

    My daughter was severely punished by the school, while the other girl, who did EVERYTHING that my daughter did, went on her senior trip and attended graduation. I’m so tired of people using religion as an excuse to be bigots. Where are the teachings of Jesus in all of this? When was a kind Christian hand extended to protect my daughter?

    My daughter was ostracized by those pretending to be servants of God! What should my daughter think now about God and the church?

    The Bible has a lot of messages. Some are positive, especially the gospels. On the other hand, some versus advocate slavery, polygamy, and even genocide. However, most people living in the United States would consider owning slaves, having multiple wives, and conducting massive pogroms taboo. Yet conservatives are quick to hate gays and excuse their horrendous behavior on the Bible.

    I realize that being conservative means being reactionary. Conservatism has exemplified the same characteristics since the dawn of man. In Spain, for example, the Carlist Wars were fought by conservatives to prevent the liberalization of the economy and government. It wasn’t that having Queen Elizabeth crowned and moving into the industrial age would have ruined Spain, it was that conservatives felt threatened by change. They feared change. It’s the same today.

    Conservatism, by definition, opposes change. Period. God doesn’t hate change. God created man to be creative; to be able to empathize with all creatures. God gave man the ability to make this world a better place. Find me one religious based, conservative, society that provides a safe environment for minority classes. Utopia, right? Conservatives, in every faith, frequently pervert the word of God. In regards to Christianity, conservative Christians often turn their backs on Christ, and they reinforce their false moralities through their peers.

    As far as I’m concerned, if you’re a bigot, you are not a Christian. You do not know Christ, and he doesn’t know you! If you think it’s immoral to accept people who are different, then you are choosing to be evil and an immoral human-being.

    I’m glad you feel this topic is worthy of debate. Me, on the other hand, I am done having my voice trivialized by others who actively seek to ruin the lives of other in the name of God. How many more people should experience the helpless frustration that my family is going through?

    Thanks for letting me vent . . . Maybe it was God not letting me sleep tonight. Maybe God wanted me to say something

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