Our Progressive Christianity Story
In 2013, United Christian Church decided to become a part of the Progressive Christianity Movement. Since that decision we have been “living into” more fully what this decision means for us as a congregation. Important to us is an understanding that belief and dogma do not define who we are. Much more important is our behavior, how we act and live our lives. After all, how we live defines our beliefs. The following are some of the important ways that we try to live as Progressive Christians:
We practice extreme hospitality. This means simply that we accept every person who comes to us as a part of our community regardless of her or his beliefs, skin color, sexual orientation or economic status. Visit us once and you will find the truth of these words.
We do peace and justice work; we seek to care for the earth, our home.
We value questions and say openly that we have few answers, but rather we journey together to find our individual truth.
We commit to a lifelong path of learning, compassion, and selfless love. Again, if you were to visit us on a Sunday Morning you will find the truth of these words.
A chief tenet of Progressive Christianity is the emphasis on Jesus' divinity and humanity's divinity and the central belief that, as the Body of Christ we are extensions of Jesus and continue the work he began. Following a love ethic we seek justice "on earth as it is in heaven" by finding the spiritual face of God in the unity of all. We do not seek uniformity of beliefs of one another but rather a unity of spirit that includes radical hospitality and loving inclusivity that was evident in the life and teachings of Jesus. We look to Jesus’ life as a model for our living and claim that following the path and teaching of Jesus can lead us to an awareness of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of Life.
We also claim that the Jesus path is just one of many ways to reach that same awareness of the sacred and oneness and unity of life. Therefore we draw from diverse sources of wisdom on our spiritual journey.
Talking about God can be frustrating because we have no human words that can ever describe the fullness of God. And we cannot claim to know clearly that which lies beyond comprehension. We simply talk about God as Love, and that wherever there is love, there too is God.
Stripped by God
What would happen if I pursued God –
If I filled my pockets with openness,
Grabbed a thermos half full of fortitude,
And crawled into the cave of the Almighty
Nose first, eyes peeled, heart hesitantly following
Until I was face to face
With the raw, pulsing beat of Mystery?
What if I entered and it looked different
Than anyone ever described?
What if the cave was too large to be fully known,
Far too extensive to be comprehended by one person or group,
Too vast for one dogma or doctrine?
Would I shatter at such a thought?
Perish from paradox or puzzle?
Shrink and shrivel before the power?
Would God be diminished if I lived a question
Rather than a statement?
Would I lose my faith
As I discovered the magnitude of Grace?
O, for the willingness to explore
To leave my tiny vocabulary at the entrance
And stand before you naked
Striped of pretenses and rigidity,
Disrobed of self righteousness and tidy packages,
Stripped of all that holds me at a distance from you
And your world.
Strip me, O God,
Then clothe me in curiosity and courage.
-Cynthia Langston Kirk-
By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…
Believe that following the way and teachings of Jesus can lead to experiencing sacredness, wholeness, and unity of all life, even as we recognize that the Spirit moves in beneficial ways in many faith traditions.
Seek community that is inclusive of all people, honoring differences in theological perspective, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, class, or ability.
Strive for peace and justice among all people, knowing that behaving with compassion and selfless love towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.
Embrace the insights of contemporary science and strive to protect the Earth and ensure its integrity and sustainability.
Commit to a path of life-long learning, believing there is more value in questioning than in absolutes.
"In English, whether we realize it or not, people frequently refer to us using pronouns when speaking about us. Often, when speaking of a singular human in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied -- such as “he” to refer to a man/boy or “she” to refer to a woman/girl. These associations are not always accurate or helpful."
As an Open and Affirming Congregation, we affirm the dignity, worth, importance, and personal gifts of all people—inclusive of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnic background, marital status, economic circumstance, and/or difference of ability. As we continue to learn and grow in understanding, we pledge to provide a safe, supportive community in which all persons—as they share in worship, fellowship, and leadership—may find the guidance and love of God in their lives.
"Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them."
"Some examples of personal pronouns and how to use them:
She/Her: “She is a writer and wrote that book herself. Those ideas are hers. I like both her and her ideas."
He/Him: “He is a writer and wrote that book himself. Those ideas are his. I like both him and his ideas."
They/Them: “They are a writer and wrote that book themself. Those ideas are theirs. I like both them and their ideas.” Please note that although “they” pronouns here are singular and refer to an individual, the verbs are conjugated the same as with the plural “they” (e.g., “they are”). Also note that in this singular pronoun set many use “themself” rather than “themselves,” although both are typically acceptable.
• Ze/Hir: “Ze is a writer and wrote that book hirself. Those ideas are hirs. I like both hir and hir ideas.” Please note that “ze” is usually pronounced with a long “e” and that “hir” and its forms are usually pronounced like the English word “here.” Some people instead go by "ze/zir" pronouns because of the more consistent pronunciation and spelling.
No Pronouns - Use My Name (example for someone whose name is “Lan”): “Lan is a writer and wrote that book. Those ideas are Lan’s. I like both Lan and Lan’s ideas.” If the reflexive component was important to communicate a message, you could use alternative language such as “Lan wrote that book unassisted” or “Lan was the sole author of that book.” Some might simply say "Lan wrote the book Lan's self."
Pronouns.org is an excellent easy to understand and brief guide to personal pronouns, how to use them, and why they matter.