At ProgressiveChristianity.org, we strive to give you resources so that you can engage on a deeper level, personally or within your faith community. However, to continue to do this, we need your support. This Advent we hope that you’ll consider supporting the work of ProgressiveChristianity.org.

May you have a meaningful Advent that is filled with hope, peace, joy and love. – Donate Now.

    • Bret Myers
    • The Rev. Bret Myers is the designated interim pastor of First Congregational UCC of Waterloo, Iowa since August 1, 2020. He has served in various ministry positions since 1985, was ordained in the United Methodist Church, and later also received standing in the United Church of Christ.

      As an undergraduate, he double majored in philosophy and religion with a minor in behavioral sciences at the University of Indianapolis. In seminary, he double majored in social ethics and pastoral psychology and counseling, learning under heralded figures at Boston University School of Theology and Harvard Divinity School such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Elie Wiesel, Peter Berger, Walter Muelder, Ralph Potter, Harrell Beck, and others. His doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin was through the philosophy department where he concentrated in ethics with an emphasis in bioethics. His outside minor was in South Asian Studies where he increased his interest in Mahayana Buddhism and Sufism within Islam.

      Bret enjoys preaching and teaching from a progressive and pluralistic perspective, having eclectically found truth from many religious and philosophical sources. He sees an important part of his ministry as challenging people to creatively think outside their conceptual frameworks, and to help people extend their compassion to all creation. He loves facilitating spiritual growth in small groups and in counseling individuals, couples, and families. The most important aspect of what he sees he does is to nurture the character development and virtues of those who seek to join in spiritual journey together—seeking, learning, understanding, and caring in the midst of joys and sorrows, doubts and insights, and every other condition of our mutual earthly existence.

      Bret has served churches of all sizes, doing so in urban, suburban, and rural environs and seeks to create churches that are: committed to peace and justice, welcoming and loving of persons, and seeking to increase their spiritual understanding of other religions and cultures.

      Bret has led workshops on non-violence, environmental ethics and religious stewardship, attitudinal and spirit-based communications, envisioning and covenanting, and a variety of other programs that have sought to create healthier and more loving and peaceful relationships in the church, in work places, and in society.

      Other than pastoral ministry, Bret has served as lecturer of philosophy, campus minister, hospice chaplain, TV interviewer & reporter of religious news, environmental educator, and a host of other positions that have served to inform and extend his ministry.

      Bret is an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist. He loves sports and outdoor adventures of all sorts and has traveled widely. He loves to write, both poetry and prose, and also enjoys photography. He especially enjoys the performing and visual arts, and events that promote cross-cultural understanding.

A New Wager (or perhaps not)

Blaise Pascal wagered that it is better to believe in God as if God existed than not believe as if God didn’t. He argued that if God exists and we believe, then we are positioned by our beliefs to gain eternal happiness; whereas if we don’t believe, then we might have positioned ourselves for eternal torment in hell for not believing. The gains or losses are therefore infinite if God exists.

read more

Commentary on a Parable about Forgiveness that Is Unforgiving, Matthew 18.21-35

I used to think that the addition of ‘another member of the church’ was a cop-out, and that we really should forgive everyone without counting. Yet in another place Jesus specifically tells his disciples to kick the dirt off their feet as protest to those who will not accept them. This doesn’t sound like forgiveness.

Was he contradicting himself? Some would say ‘yes.’ I have even done so myself. But my own cultural circumstances in 2020 have made me revisit this and come out with a different conclusion.

read more

Commentary on a Parable about Forgiveness that Is Unforgiving

Matthew 18.21-35

Let us use our moral imaginations to try to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt (just as we should do with each other in our daily lives). We all know that there are those who are poor and suffering who still side with the wealthy and healthy rather than with their own people. It is ironic, but we see such things common even in our own time.

read more

The Spirituality of a Trustworthy Friend

When we care enough to listen to others, not so much as to give them advice, but to understand them…not so much to solve their problems but to be their confidante…not so much to inspire them but to be there for them, we become to them a trustworthy friend.

read more

On Whether Life Is Sacred

We are all spiritually, if not physically/chemically, intertwined to symbiotically and synergistically coexist for the mutual benefit of all.

read more

Thoughts on Incarnation

Incarnation is about that which is divine becoming real in what is natural, banal, human, or secular. What is the divine?

read more

Why Religion and Politics Cannot Be Separated

As long as we treat Biblical and political statements as distinct, we have given up the power of the divine message.

read more

A Place to Moor Your Love

We the creatures of this earth
Raise grateful voices for our birth
Nourished by sustaining care
In us the hopes of others bear

read more

A Place to Moor Your Love

We the creatures of this earth
Raise grateful voices for our birth

read more

Life Explained

From cradle to coffin we live out our time
We ponder existence seeking reason and rhyme

read more

Prayer’s Purpose for Progressives

Prayer invites us to quiet our spirits,
to quell the distractions that otherwise avert our attention
from virtues to banalities of existence.

read more

Prayer’s Purpose for Progressives

Prayer invites us to quiet our spirits,
to quell the distractions that otherwise avert our attention
from virtues to banalities of existence.

read more

On Myths and Facts

Faith and facts deal with differing realms of our reality. To think otherwise is to make a category mistake — one which diminishes both the depth and breadth of human life, and limits our understanding to the impoverishment that we refer to as narrow-mindedness.

read more

A Progressive Sacrament of Holy Communion

Reminding us symbolically of this union of body and spirit, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it like we are often broken in our relationships with one another, and showed us the way to reconciliation by asking us to share our bread with one another in remembrance of his own example.

read more

On What Was Devine in Jesus (and in us)

The language of faith is mytho-poetic, not literal. It describes the meaning of reality, not the facts. Thus the contemporary question of whether Jesus was factually born of a virgin or was the biological son of God confuses the very intention of the ancient authors.

read more

Memorial Day Reflections

Perhaps it is time we not only remember those who have died in the wars from our own country, but from others.

For if we see the damage done, and to who it is done, viz., the poorer and middle classes of all warring nations, we will finally recognize that all these wars have been constructed by the wealthy and powerful to preserve and bolster their own interests.

read more

Holy Week Reflection And Questions

The wise and teaching Jesus proclaimed an egalitarian ethic of loving and serving others, even our enemies, as ourselves. The compassionate and practicing Jesus worked and advocated for equality, justice, and mercy for the despised, poor, sinful, and oppressed. The judicious and brave Jesus decried the hypocrisy and illuminated the spiritual perils of the wealthy, powerful, haughty, judgemental, and privileged. The betrayed and arrested Jesus commanded the nonviolent laying down of swords and the restoration of severed ears to hear. The tortured and dying Jesus exhibited forgiveness to those who persecuted him. The resurrected and empowered Jesus encouraged and gave the gift of peace to all who would follow his example and go forth to revolutionize relationships with all humanity and creation.

read more

Advent

What is coming we yearn to know
As fallen leaves herald winter snow
Will what comes be worth the wait ?
Will past hungers our future sate?

read more

What It Means to Be a Christian

To live by the virtues and values of Christ (i.e., love/compassion, peace/nonviolence, and justice/egalitarianism) as summed up in “The Great Commandment” and “Golden Rule

read more

Why Was Jesus Upset with Thomas’ Lack of Faith?

From modern eyes, it is hard to think Thomas was any different than any other disciples who had already witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Thomas alone had not seen with his own eyes what the others claimed to have seen. And here it is so easy to get pulled into thinking that seeing with one’s eyes is the real issue.

read more

On Prayer and Getting Answers To Prayer: A Hopefully Encouraging Response To Another’s Questions about the Efficacy of Prayer

I see prayer as intentionally engaging our conscious mind with our highest values. In prayer, I’m reminded of the things that matter most–not only for myself, but for others. By aspiring to focus my mind and heart on these things, I become more open to the possibilities I can wisely (hopefully) choose to make life more meaningful, purposeful, or beautiful.

read more

“Perfection” In The Thought Of Jesus

What we we think is perfection, and what Jesus and the ancients meant by it, are different. When he said, “Be perfect, even as God is perfect,” he did not mean without error; or, as some have assumed, as merely complete in who you are (as if one’s own uniqueness is different from another’s, and that everyone needs to only be true to their own selves).

read more

“Speak To Us…Let Us Listen”

*Centering Our Soul “Speak To Us…Let Us Listen”

read more

Why God Would Not Require A Human Sacrifice For The Sins Of Humanity

And other thoughts on the religion of Jesus

If God is love, if love is an integral part of God’s essence, then God must act with and by love — no exceptions. If God does not condone violence, injustice, hatred, and vengefulness in humanity, then God would need to live up to at least as high of a standard.

read more

The Ethics of Our Conception of God

Our conception of God needs to be revised if it does not lead us to emphasize the virtues of compassion, peacefulness, justice, mercy and love in God and in ourselves.

read more

The Difference between a Pacifist and a Passivist

Pacifists and passivists are agreed in being nonviolent. The latter, however, is determined not to react or respond to violence with any actions of opposition; whereas the former may be very determined to oppose violence by any means except violence.

read more

Right and Wrong Times and Places

Those who believe there is a right and wrong time and place to protest injustices are those whose privilege keeps them from the injustices. Those who with Rev. Dr. M.L. King, Jr., live by the principle that the right time to do the right thing is now, privileged or not, remind us of the immorality of acquiescence, apathy, indifference, denial, negligence, and procrastination in confronting injustice and evil.

read more

Beauty Beckons

Beauty beckons us to seek her face
To find in her both awe and grace

read more

Jesus’ Encounter with a Literalist

Scripture Lesson: John 3.1-21

Nicodemus may not have been the first or last literalist that Jesus encountered, but he is one whom most of us would least imagine to be one. He was “a leader of the Jews,” which meant he was well-educated and versed in the scriptures. He would have been very familiar with the nuance of words, and the various meanings that religious words might have. So it seems odd that he would not have known what Jesus was talking about when Jesus spoke with multivalent words.

read more

On Those Who Attempt to Justify Their Political Non-Involvement as Spiritual Enlightenment and a Manifestation of Grace

Grace is less to be identified with being unaffected by all that is going on around us, and more with being moved by the Spirit to work for peace and justice for all out of loving others as we love ourselves.

read more

Pastoral Thoughts on Decades of the Abotion Debate

At least from my perspective as a pastor, I think the abortion issue is one of the more complex moral problems of our age. It pits the rights of the mother against those of the child, such that if one takes one side over the other, one is perceived as compassionless by the other side.

read more

Prayer of Confession

O God who suffers at our spiritual and ethical failings, and rejoices at the turning to virtue of our hearts and spirits: We confess that we have gone astray by our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have been irresponsible by what we have done, as well as what we have left undone.

read more

Easter Encouragement for the Journey

Remember that resurrection is more than mere resuscitation! It is life transformed!
It is faith in possibilities, when others are convinced of inevitability.

read more

On The Insidiousness of Racism, Sexism, Religious Bigotry, and Homophobia in American Culture

But when we ignore the fact that we are advantaged while others are disadvantaged, then as innocuous as it may seem we are part of the problem. Indeed, because our own prejudice and discrimination are so invisible to, and insidious within, us we are actually the biggest part of the problem. The overt racists will hopefully be dealt with by the law, but we law-abiding citizens who feel entitled to our advantaged social status while remaining ignorant or disinterested in the disadvantaged status of others can remain easily oblivious and thus conscience free.

read more

“Prayer for Abundant Living”

O God of empty tombs and resurrection living:
Make us mindful of the pervasiveness of hope, 
the determination of faith, 
and the persistence of love.  

read more

The Integrity of Nonviolence

Nonviolence needs to be the means as well as the end to which we advocate and bear witness.

read more