Friday, July 23, 2010

Progressive Christianity

I'm a big fan of "Stuff Christians Like", a blog that started some years back, written by a Christ Follower named Jon Acuff who thinks a little outside of the box, is full of humor and can write a wicked serious column when he needs too... perhaps one day I can achieve his success and though we have slightly different writing styles, I would be more likely to adapt to his than he to mine. (he's also written a book which you can find here)

Let's be honest... I'm actually hoping that one day I will write something that someone else will read and post on their own site saying something like, "I read 'Clouds' alot, and its awesome and here's today's post which is awesome and d$ is awesome and awesome awesome awesome..."  That would be awesome.  Enough self-ego inflating...

Anyway, one particular post caught my attention, and I will copy and paste it here for your reading, though I want to be quick to point out that I didn't write it, add to or detract from it, and if you follow the above links you'll find not only this same column but his stellar site.  You can also find it amongst the blogroll on the right side.  I guess its also worthy of noting that Acuff didn't actually write this either, its just posted on his site (as I did on mine) from columnist blogger Rachel Held Evans

Jon Acuff posts/Rachel Evans writes:

(I don’t write about politics that often because it’s not a topic I can write about very well. There are so many good political blogs that I tend to avoid it. Plus, political comments usually get really ugly, really quickly. But my friend Rachel is going to change that. Today, she checks in with a funny look at the secret life of Christian liberals. Enjoy.)

Last month, Jon Acuff wrote a piece for about Christians treating secular media like Satan’s newspaper. A faithful reader of both SCL and The New York Times, I laughed along until about midway through the article when Jon joked that Christians are “pretty sure Fox News is baptizing people in their lobby,” at which point I completely lost my sense of humor.

It is an unspoken rule among liberals that only one Jon is allowed to make us laugh about Fox News—and it’s Stewart, not Acuff.  But how was Jon supposed to know? He’s an evangelical Christian, which means he is statistically obligated to have only one liberal friend.

So as a Christian and an occasional democrat…(yes, we do exist)…I’ve decided to be that friend, offering SCL a brief list of stuff liberal progressive Christians like:

1. Calling ourselves “progressive” instead of “liberal’
The word liberal (like evolution and sex) carries with it negative connotations in the Christian subculture, and is often used in the context of play-by-play accounts from a pastors or Sunday school teachers about the dangers of competitive slippery slope sliding. Progressive is better. People like Jesus and Donald Miller are considered progressive. Progressive communicates the fact that we’re not headed down, but forward…and just a little to the left.

2. Assuming our daily fair-trade latte from Starbucks makes us committed to social justice
I may drive a gas-guzzling clunker to Wal-mart to buy a trunk full of out-of season fruit, but I’m certain that the steam pouring off of my free trade Cinnamon Dolce Latte is a sweet aroma to God.

3. Agreeing with the Democratic Party on everything except abortion
I am one of many progressive Christians in the unhappy predicament of supporting things like health care reform and environmental stewardship, while remaining steadfastly pro-life. To compensate for our insecurity about this situation, we progressives like to try to one-up conservative pro-lifers by noting that we’re also against the death penalty and war. This does little to actually advance the conversation, which usually ends with people yelling at one another about who is being more judgmental. Sorry about that.

4. NPR
To borrow a metaphor from a friend, we progressives are pretty sure that Ira Glass is mystically distributing the Eucharist through the airwaves during “This American Life.”

So, what would you add to the list? What else do progressive Christians like? (Conservatives, please don’t say “going to hell,” as it kinda hurts our feelings and messes with the whole Christian unity thing.)

(Rachel Held Evans is a liberal progressive Christian from Dayton, Tennessee, home of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Her first book, “Evolving in Monkey Town” officially releases with Zondervan in July, but is currently available on Amazon. She blogs at

I did scan the comments, and found one in particular to be of interest, and by interest, I mean hilarious... "Justin" writes:
I'm somewhat more conservative than liberal, although I certainly listen to NPR (except Ira Glass, his voice is like a freshman at a college radio station) and am sick of the culture war politics and right-wing talk radio is only rivaled in annoyingness by Sojo ;)

Still, here's a few things I noticed Liberal Evangelicals like (and I like some of these too, I'll happily admit).

- Saying "God is not a Republican," conceding to add "nor a Democrat" if pushed.
- Begrudgingly admitting that Bush did a stellar job with his AIDS initiatives in Africa.
- Jim Wallis
- Watching Fox News, Complaining about Fox News
- Derek Webb
- Social Justice, endlessly arguing about exactly what "Social Justice" is.
- Begrudgingly admitting that Rick Warren's got a good sense of missions and social justice
- Thinking about being Catholic up until the point they talk about celibacy and birth control.
- Billy Graham (because he's a Democrat, and he seems to like all the Presidents equally)
- Portraying Mormon Glen Beck, Catholic Sean Hannity, and lapsed mainliner Rush Limbaugh as representatives of conservative Evangelicalism.
- Bono
- Francis Collins (me, too -- he rocks! Yay for Obama for nominating him.)

Okay, back to me again... hope you enjoyed it, and if you find your way to this site, Mr. Acuff, I hope its alright that I posted, giving you full credit...

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