I have been thinking a lot lately about why I call myself a progressive Christian. It could be that I’m getting close to ordination in a progressive denomination, or that I’ve spent the past two years hosting a “post-evangelical” podcast, or maybe it’s this election and the distance that I feel from the conservative church I once called home, a distance I feel sharply whenever I scroll through a Facebook news feed.
At any rate, I’m thinking and so I’m writing.
(and, secretly, I probably hope to close the growing distance a little)
I’m progressive because Jesus said his followers would be.
Not in those terms, of course, but clearly.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is depicted comforting his disciples in preparation for his departure “to the Father.” He promises not to leave them orphans, commands them to trust in the miracles he did whenever they doubt his words and, with a hand under their chins (as I imagine it), he lifts their heads and says,
“Verily truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father” [John 14:12]. Read more “Greater than Jesus”
I read a ton of books last year. It was my New Year’s resolution to devour as many as I could. Read one and done. Move on, keep going.
That was the plan and it went smoothly, until I slammed into the wall called The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. At first glance it seemed like an easy read; it was fiction, in the local library, and evinced all the elements of a dystopian sci-fi. Read more “That Time You Accidentally Go Vegetarian”
This was a fascinating read. The authors attempt to make a clear distinction between a biblical portrayal of God’s relationship with the world and the influence of Greek philosophy upon Christian theology, specifically in regard to God’s experience of things like time, change, emotion, and knowledge.
Read more “Allen reviews The Openness of God, though review is a strong word”
The mall in my town looks more like a religious sanctuary than I ever realized. Read more “What If Shopping Malls Are Really Sanctuaries?”
To be sure, a cityscape is not made of flesh. Still, sheared-off buildings are almost as eloquent as bodies in the street.
-Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others
A photograph of refugees streaming out of war-torn Yarmouk introduces an online article. A humanitarian advertisement displays a malnourished dog, mostly skin and bones, on the brink of death. A Facebook friend posts infrared photographs of helicopter pilots firing rounds into a group of footsoldiers.
Violent images inundate my daily world.
Which is disturbing. Infuriating. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve seen that I would rather not see. Maybe should not see. My gut reacts and screams these pictures should not exist!
But another part of me thinks that they should. Read more “When I See Pictures of Victims”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
-Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland
My Childhood Demons
Peering out from beneath a pile of stuffed animals, I saw the shadowy figure sitting at the foot of my bunk bed. It stared at me from between the rungs of the ladder which led up to my snoring little brother; I felt the shadow watching me. A few days later, two more shadows would join the first and crowd around me.
I sunk further into my animals, desperate to avoid its gaze.
So goes my earliest memory and the beginning of my night terrors.
Until age ten, night terrors were a routine part of my childhood. Read more “My Life With Night Terrors, Demons, And “Alice In Wonderland Syndrome””