(Christianity) State of the Union

I came upon an article I just had to read.  A State of the Union: Progressive Christianity.

The article is a script of a Prof. Burklo of U. of Southern California.   I am not sure the implications of “progressive” in his title–maybe he considers some of Christianity not progressive and also backwards?  Ok, I will give him that.  I find some believers somewhat backwards.

I went to the site of the church were this sermon was given,  the United Church of Christ, Simi Valley, CA.   I noted their core beliefs which I have listed below.   I noted right off there is nothing about the person of Christ that is in the name of the church nor of the Bible, which is about that person.  But here we go on values:

We Welcome the LGBT Community!

OK, good one UCC, we do too here in the deep South.  We do not turn anyone away from the doors of our church, also “red and yellow, black and white” they are all precious in His site.  We believe that as well.

Never place a period, where God has placed a comma.

Yes, that is a good one but sometimes it matters what is before the comma and what comes afterward.  I believe this is an underhanded way of saying that we know what God said and meant and some out there don’t know either.  Watch out!  That could get you into trouble.

We embrace justice and equality.

So do we UCC, we in the South have learned the hard way about justice and equality but since we have lived through our awkward phases we glory in equality and justice.

We honor diverse religious traditions.

And we as well UCC,  but for truth we know where that comes from.   Ultimate truth was given by the prophets, psalmists, writers of the Law, Jesus Himself and His Apostles.  Some religious traditions come from man without God and do not give Him deserved glory.   Because we believe in His justice we choose to honor Him first.   There have always been those who want to create their own traditions that do not honor God.  Here we have to be loving but hold to God’s priorities.

We thank God for Evolution!

So do I UCC.  I am surprised that Creation was not also included.   Evolution has a role but we honor God who is ultimate creator.

Prof. Burklo  gave the state of the progressive Christianity in bullet form so I want to list his bullets here.  I will comment after each bullet.

“Progressive Christians keep the faith and drop the dogma.”

Yes, absolutely keep the faith but I don’t understand “drop the dogma.”   If that means leaving out the parts of the Bible which don’t align with my thinking, I can’t go there.  I am human and God is not.  Just because I don’t fully understand something that God gave me doesn’t make what He gave wrong nor inconsistent nor any other negative adjective I could think of.

“For us, God is Love, not a Guy in the Sky.”

God is love and He is the Almighty in the sky.  What does what you said mean?

Since God and Nature are one, science is a way to learn about God.

God and Nature are not one, they are distinct.   Prof Burklo, are you a closet Hindu?

“We do Christianity without pelvic issues.”

The dear professor is getting more vague and these are supposed to be poignant.  I did an internet search and found pelvic issues associated with women’s health problems.

“Faith is about deeds, not creeds.”

Faith is mostly about faith!  In understanding our faith we have created creeds to codify the essentials of that faith.  Creed’s are a very helpful thing to many people.   Today, I read a “creed” created for understanding by a Massai tribesman.  It was not like the English or French or German creeds but very applicable to the Massai about Jesus.

True faith results in great works!  You can find that affirmed throughout the New Testament.

We take the Bible seriously because we don’t have to take it literally.”

I believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible and authoritative Word of God.  People use the word “literal” and that sometimes confuses the real issues regarding the authenticity of the books of the Bible.  Everything written is not to be applied literally.   Believing that has broken the rational, emotional and spiritual backs of too many people including many atheists I know.

Spiritual questions are more important to us than religious answers.

“The morality of what happens in the war-room and the board-room matters more to us than what happens in the bedroom.”

All of it matters prof, to me!  All of it is important to civility and our livelihood and our survival as Christians

“Other religions can be as good for others as our religion is good for us.”

I am a Jesus follower!   I don’t apologize for that because of who He is.  He offers so, so, so much that the world hungers for and needs.  I have to be honest about that when I think about who He is and what He offers us.

“Our church parking lot is for cars, not brains.”

I am not sure that one needs a comment.

“God is bigger than our ideas about God.”

I wholeheartedly agree !

“God evolves, and so does our religion.”

Absolutely not!   Jesus is the same today, as yesterday as He will be in 1 million years.   Jesus came in the East, but He is for all peoples West, North and South.   Life, relationships, family and so many other sociological components are the same.  So, there is no reason for His prophesies, commands, affirmations or any other revelations by Him to be changed!



The Article


5 thoughts on “(Christianity) State of the Union

  1. From this brief overview it sounds like this is a statement in defence of process theology, one of the most insidious heresies because it feeds into our pride to be important, and it ends up making us more important than God. I agree much is agreeable, but much is, as you point out, questionable or problematic.


      • Sorry I took so long to reply; I don’t have much time for my blog life these days.
        Well, it comes from the philosophy of Alfred Whitehead, but John Cobb is the one who applied it to popularity. I will over simplify it to say that it holds that God is in a process of becoming, so is, in some sense, living within time. For example, it holds that when I pray to God it affects God, and I can change God through my relationship with God. It is very tempting as a heresy because it makes us have influence over the Divine and history. Despite that allure, it is deadly. We thus shape God rather than the orthodox teaching that we are the ones changed when we encounter God. It feeds into the Eden sin of wanting to be like gods. I have personally fought it tenaciously as it took over the United Church of Canada. I lost…


        • Thanks for the explanation. So, the United Church espouses that theology throughout?

          Are you connected to a body of believers now? Sorry, I may have asked that before and forgot your answer.


          • That denomination is more affected by it than many members realize. There are pockets of more orthodox believers, but the controversy over human sexuality drove many of them away from 1988 onward, including whole congregations. We continue to look for companionship in faith, but of the 11 or so congregations right in town, and that many more in the 2 closest villages we have found them cold to hostile. It is a sad commentary on the effectiveness of the enemy. At the moment we are considering a return to the local United congregation, which espouses modern theology, but at least the people are friendly. What does one do?


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