Some Qualities Of Progressive Christians And Churches
By:Jerry S. Maneker
The fact is that there are so few churches within Christianity that are “open and affirming” is a
tremendous indictment against much of the organized Church world!  Not only don’t progressive
Christians and churches see any contradiction between same-sex love and Godly and biblical principles,
but we recognize and acknowledge Godly and biblical affirmation of same-sex love, and we strive to have
all people and churches come to this realization.

It is not by accident that the first words recorded of Jesus as He began His public ministry are the
following taken from the Book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight
to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)  

Progressive Christians and churches take these words very seriously!  We view it as not only our mission,
but as a mandate from Jesus Himself, that we embrace ALL of God’s children.  We recognize that God
specializes in diversity!  No two humans are alike, anymore than any two snowflakes are alike!  If we look
at the plant and animal kingdoms, we see the wide variety of differences that go to make up God’s
tapestry.

Progressive Christians and churches challenge man-made traditions that make void the Word of God
(Matthew 15:3), and we realize and acknowledge that, in the words of the United Church of Christ, “God is
still speaking” to us.  We are called upon to not only preach but live out the only Gospel to be had in
Christianity: the Gospel of grace (unmerited favor), faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness.  
We reject outright the false gospel of legalism and perfectionism that misrepresents Christianity and
seeks to put people under condemnation and, thereby, seeks to exclude what God has made and what
God has included in His kingdom!  

As “progressive” Christians, we don’t take the Bible literally; we take it seriously.  We see the Bible as
God’s love letter to His children, beckoning us to never tire of doing good (Galatians 6:9), and we strive
for social justice by doing our very best to help remove yokes of bondage placed on people by assorted
people and institutions, including many clergy, churches, and denominations.

Many of us have been terribly hurt by other professing Christians, clergy and churches in the past, and
we have come to progressive churches as one comes to an oasis after spending many years in one or
more deserts of oppression, having been judged as “Christians” on the basis of what we think and how
we act; having as requirements that that thinking and acting conform to the expectations and prejudices
of others in that particular church.  In truly progressive churches, we testify that Jesus saves!  No buts
attached!

We take God at His word when He tells us that we are saved by grace and by grace alone, and that what
difficulties, sufferings, sins, failings, and weaknesses we have will be worked out between us and God,
and we don’t give simplistic answers to life’s many complex problems.  We recognize that life is frequently
messy and, as Jesse Jackson said upon the murder of Bill Cosby’s son, “We act as if life is certain and
death is uncertain when, in fact, death is certain and life is very uncertain.”

A progressive church strives to be a true church family, a safe place, a haven and an oasis, where we all
can come and share our wounds and uplift each other as befits a church that seeks to reflect and
manifest the love of Christ, the Prince of Peace.  Moreover, we strive to not only be a vehicle for ministry
to those who attend our churches, but strive to be a source of doing good through out-reach efforts and
by loudly and consistently telling the secular and church worlds that God loves all of His children, He
created us and He knows us better than we can ever possibly know ourselves, and He demands that in
order to be in conformity with His will for our lives as individuals and as a church we are to embrace all of
His creation, which is a command all progressive Christians are certainly delighted to obey.

God impels us to fight against injustice, to embrace all of His children, to see to it that His Church is a
beacon of light in a sin-cursed world. Straight and queer, by committing our lives to Christ, we are all
invited and called upon to sit at the Lord’s table, and thereby partake together as members of God’s
family both now and throughout eternity.

We in progressive churches recognize that we are all wounded souls, God’s children, who come to a safe
haven to put our lameness, struggles, and sufferings under the Lord’s Table, commune with each other,
feast on God’s Word, and welcome everyone to come to “…taste and see that the Lord is good….”
(Psalm 34:8)


Home Page