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. What follows are some thoughts from one of the Clergy-In-Residence. Please note that these are his thoughts and that our congregation is in an ongoing process of discernment and discovery. That is to say that this is hardly a final word.

 

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. 

  • Perhaps the most controversial tenant of Progressive Christianity is an understanding that Jesus was not necessarily divine. Members of the congregation may agree or disagree but are unified around our love and acceptance of one another. 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-