On our website we display a star with eight points. Most of us use the eight-pointed star logo, but we have not agreed on what meaning the rays of this star might hold. The eight-point de? nition of progressive Christianity, symbolized by the star, provides starting points for conversation. The eight points do not answer the question of what is essential among all who claim to be progressive Christians.
What is center of the star we call Progressive Christianity? With issues like gay marriage, separation of church and state, and the faith of our leaders perpetually debated in the media, how we live right now will decide whether our movement thrives or becomes another blip on the radar of Christian history.
I believe we have one core dogma.
Progressive Christians proclaim that God loves everyone without exception. We struggle, like everyone else, to affirm this dogma in everyday life. When we radically disagree with someone or simply dislike someone, we act badly. We get righteous, we belittle, and we make people feel unwelcome. But because we believe in God’s universal love for all people, we try to recognize the humanity in all of creation. In everything we do, we try to behave as if everyone is loved by God.
Everything else we do emits from this core. Progressive Christians hold to the value of faith community where Jesus and the Bible matter. We will never try to de? ne exactly what constitutes a faith community or the details of how people engage Jesus or the Bible, but we believe no one should be forced to develop faith on his or her own. We believe in questions, in ambiguity, and in creating environments where doubters and assured believers can engage in the same community. In the end, even if we disagree on these points, and we will, we believe that the way we treat each other is more important that the ideas we hold true.
Our actions are most important because of our one dogma. If we really believe God loves everyone, we have to provide for everyone’s basic humanity even as we disagree, battle in the public sector, and struggle to? nd common ground. We will always ?ght in the media, political systems, and in our churches about vital human issues, and God will always be with us, loving all of us. In this highly charged moment in American history, I hope we can live like we know God loves everyone without exception.
Jon Wortmann is pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church is Southborough, Massachusetts, and is the New England Regional Coordinator for TCPC.