July 16, 2019

Post-Progressive

Three Falls, One Canyon. Photo by Ralph Earlandson at Flickr

Labels aren’t everything, but here at Internet Monk we’ve talked a lot about being post-evangelical. The subtitle for the blog used to be “dispatches from the Post-Evangelical wilderness.” That was Michael Spencer’s journey, and it was also mine. From the culture of American evangelicalism to…what? Michael never really found a home in another tradition but remained in the “wilderness” until the day he died nine years ago. I eventually found a home in the Lutheran theological tradition — especially that of Luther himself– but I remain in something of a “post-ecclesiastical” position, still feeling like a square peg in a round hole when it comes to the institutional church.

Back in August 2010, we suggested in a series of posts that there were “Three Streams in the Post-Evangelical Wilderness.”

  • The “emerging” movement, which has morphed into “progressive” Christianity.
  • The “ancient-future” movement, which for many (like me), has meant a return to historic traditions and practices.
  • The “neo-Calvinist” movement, which embraces Reformed or Puritan dogmatic traditions.

These movements are still going strong, but now Richard Beck has suggested that it might be time to move on from some of these post-evangelical movements into something new. He has been calling himself a “post-progressive” Christian recently, and he has begun a series at his blog on what that might entail.

The reason I’m describing myself as post-progressive is that enough alienation has built up between myself and progressive Christianity that I’ve come to recognize that when I hear progressive Christians talk I tend to have as many objections and concerns about what they are saying as I do affirmations. In some important way, I’ve moved to a different location within Christianity and I’d like to map out where I stand in some detail.

Beyond making a contrast with progressive Christianity I find this task necessary for another reason as well. I’ve shared many of my criticisms about progressive Christianity on the blog and a few readers, in reading these criticisms, have said that it sounds like I’m becoming more “conservative.” I get why they think that. When you hear criticism of progressivism that’s mostly coming from a conservative person or viewpoint. So it’s natural, when you hear my own criticism of progressivism, to assume that I’m drifting back to the “other side,” back to conservatism.

But that is not what is happening. I’m not moving back to conservatism, I’m moving on from progressivism into a new, unoccupied space. What I aim to describe is post-progressive, a view still rooted in progressive Christianity but distinct from it as well. I’ll make this clear in the posts to come, how I’m still progressive, but have moved on in some important ways.

One thing is clear to me: if we are growing, we change. Old wineskins can’t contain the new wine. We realize it’s time to move on.

There is a kind of restlessness that can be a cop out. Things get hard and we suddenly “feel led” to make a change. That’s not what Richard Beck is talking about. He is talking about a journey of observing, learning, growing, and maturing. And realizing he doesn’t fit. He has, in his words, “moved to a different location within Christianity.”

I respect that. It is the same spirit I so appreciated in Michael Spencer. I hope I have enough courage to follow their example until the end of my days.

Comments

  1. David Cornwell says

    I want to hear more about this post-progressive idea. The church I attend can easily be described as progressive. However, the members hold diverse theological ideas according to their background, etc. I love the people from this church and have felt more at home there than other churches I’ve attended. But at times there is something that makes me uneasy, which I can’t always put my finger on. Part of it has to do with theology that can be squishy.

    Since Marge’s death, I’ve been thinking about my future and the Church. And part of it’s wrapped up in what I said above. I won’t say anymore right now because I’d probably be just rambling. And I don’t want to say anything that would be hurtful to people I love.

    • Christiane says

      David, from what I know about Chaplain Mike and the Imonkers here, I think you can talk to us here and even ramble if you want to. The strange thing about this place is that it does seem okay that many of us are all about ‘the journey’ and we share a lot with each other about our insights and observations along the ‘Way’.

      Ramble? David, go for it. 🙂

      • I so agree with you Christiane. In no way do I feel like I have all the answers. Far from it but I do feel bold in this space to assert where I’m going and what I’m seeing. This is not a seminary and no one is establishing doctrine. It is a place for searchers to converse and occasionally cross swords but there is certainly freedom to grow and question here.

  2. He talks about wanting to “move on” from progressive Christianity, but (so far) hasn’t given any reasons *why*. So how can I say one thing or the other about his desires?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I feel sorta the same; and I also, to this day, do not have a grasp on what “progressive” Christianity is, other than “not conservative” [which is another reason people assume one is “conservative” is one critique’s “progressive”; “progressive” is simply the “other” in our culture’s obsession with binarisms.].

    • Rick Ro. says

      –> “He talks about wanting to ‘move on’ from progressive Christianity, but (so far) hasn’t given any reasons *why*.”

      And I ask, “Why is that a problem?” My own experience (I’m sure echoed by many others) is that feelings for “I need a change” often come before knowing the “why.” General unease, a general sense of no longer fitting in, a discomfit of the spirit… they often come without a direct knowledge of what’s causing that. Not only that, but people’s journeys usually involves finding the “why.”

      People have been singing about “the search for why” for a long time, too, which is probably why I enjoy listening to secular rock, to listen to people singing about that search.

  3. Christiane says

    there IS the possibility of being an ‘eclectic’ type of Christian who sees something of meaning in different ‘locations within Christianity’

    finding joy in the music of the old ‘shape-note’ hymn singing that was a-capella in the 1800’s

    beguiled by the hymns of a Ukrainian/Russian Catholic choir, so solemn and mystical

    feeling the living pulse of ‘chant’ at a Catholic monastery in California

    or a choir from a local Baptist Church which comes to sing at a facility to cheer the elderly

    I’m not sure we are always traveling ‘away from’ . . . . maybe sometimes we are moving ‘towards’ and we don’t even know it . . . . the thing about the Body of Christ is that the lines of direction are not always linear 🙂

    it’s that Holy Spirit that ‘goes where He wills’ and we find ourselves stopping by the side of the road an aweful lot in our faith journey, yes

    • Christiane says
    • David Cornwell says

      “there IS the possibility of being an ‘eclectic’ type of Christian who sees something of meaning in different ‘locations within Christianity’”

      Definitely.

      “it’s that Holy Spirit that ‘goes where He wills’ and we find ourselves stopping by the side of the road an aweful lot in our faith journey, yes”

      I had a church history prof in seminary that said exactly the same thing. For instance, he used the charismatic movement that was stirring up the Church during that period as an example. He was saying be careful about denying that this was a movement of the Spirit, and that in time the excesses would smooth themselves out. He said basically the same thing about some of the early “heretics.” And that the Holy Spirit would use unlikely sources to bring renewal and change to the Church with a fresh wind in the future.

      Thanks Christiane for giving me permission to ramble!

  4. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Mr. Beck’s part #2 just dropped, and it thankfully begins with this sentence: “””The label “progressive Christianity” is vague.”””
    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2019/07/post-progressive-christianity-part-2.html

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      The synopsis: “””Deconstruction must be followed by reconstruction,”””

      Yes!

      Known: Nobody invites the Fundamentalist [aka: Evangelical] to a party.
      Proposal: Nobody invites the Post-Evangelical to a party twice. 🙂

    • Ok, here is something to actually chew on. 😉

      I one problem with the “vagueness” of “progressive Christianity” is that it doesn’t have a set program or identifiable group of spokespeople. Nobody has succeeded at building a “brand” around progressive Christianity like they have with “evangelical” – which I actually consider a good thing. 🙂

      Now, about his comparisons between “progressive” and Mainline Christians… Again, that vagueness betrays him. “both groups tend to adopt a demythologized reading of the Bible. Compare, for example, Rob Bell’s post-evangelical What Is the Bible? with the books of John Shelby Spong from a mainline perspective. Lots of convergence between how post-evangelicals and mainline Protestants read the Bible.”

      I would consider myself a progressive Christian, and I have some problems with Bell’s hermeneutic – and even HUGER problems with Spong’s. As broad as my concept of the faith has grown, I just can’t place Spong anywhere in it. He has repudiated almost the entire Nicene Creed at one point or another, and that pretty much puts you outside the historical boundaries of the church.

      “they embrace Democratic Party policies along with social justice activism. Both groups tend to be politically progressive.” – OK, guilty as charged, but can it be helped that those policies and those causes have the most overlap with our understanding of Christ’s call to us? Especially when compared to the alternative?

      “deconstruction continues to make evangelicalism the frame of reference, making post-evangelicalism a Christianity of negation, a faith defined by what you reject and don’t believe in.”

      A fair criticism. Which is why we should strive to compare our actions and our theology to Christ’s teachings and example. If we get too bitter, we’re off the path.

      “a faith that becomes stuck in a posture of negation, critique, and doubt is not a sustainable Christianity for the long faithfulness required to carry faith through the lifespan.” – OK, I get what he’s saying, but so much of evangelicalism has so much baggage, and makes such an effort to deny the problems, that it can take a *long time* for some folks to work through it. They need support and encouragement, not scolding (however mild) about “not staying negative”.

      “I think liberal humanists desperately need the gospel. Atheism isn’t the worst outcome, but I don’t think it’s the best. So I reject a Christianity that facilitates and enables, even if unwittingly, losing Jesus and the church.
      And if that’s so, then post-evangelical progressives need to become post-progressive.”

      I wonder how “progressive” he got before he moved to “post-progressive”. ;-( Seriously, though, anecdotes are dangerous, but I’m seeing a hell of a lot more people being driven from faith by evangelicalism rather than progressivism.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > I one problem with the “vagueness” of “progressive Christianity” is
        > that it doesn’t have a set program or identifiable group of
        > spokespeople.

        See Mr. Cornwell’s comment above: “the members hold diverse theological ideas according to their background”

        > Nobody has succeeded at building a “brand” around progressive
        > Christianity like they have with “evangelical” – which I actually
        > consider a good thing. ?

        It is most useful as a “brand” to Conservatives. 🙂

        > Now, about his comparisons between “progressive” and Mainline
        > Christians… Again, that vagueness betrays him.

        Yeah, not sure what he means there either.

        > I would consider myself a progressive Christian, and I have some
        > problems with Bell’s hermeneutic – and even HUGER problems with Spong’s.

        There is certainly a realm beyond the borders of Progressive XXX. But in the context of a Right/Center-Right culture it gets lumped for convenience.

        > As broad as my concept of the faith has grown, I just can’t place Spong
        > anywhere in it. He has repudiated almost the entire Nicene Creed at one
        > point or another,

        Yep. There are those who one can only ask: “Why are you still here?”, in whatever group they’ve intellectually atomized.

        > “they embrace Democratic Party policies along with social justice
        > activism. Both groups tend to be politically progressive.” – OK,
        > guilty as charged, but can it be helped that those policies…
        > Especially when compared to the alternative?

        Again the conext of a Right/Center-Right nation, and its culture, matters. In truth, you are either “Conservative” or you are Not-“Conservative”. You feel solidarity with the ruling minority, or you don’t.

        > “deconstruction continues to make evangelicalism the frame of reference,
        > making post-evangelicalism a Christianity of negation, a faith defined
        > by what you reject and don’t believe in.”
        > A fair criticism.

        +1,000

        > If we get too bitter, we’re off the path.

        Also makes one (a) unattractive and (b) no fun.

        I don’t want to hang out with That Guy.

        > “a faith that becomes stuck in a posture of negation, …”
        > [Evangelicalism] makes such an effort to deny the problems,

        THIS! A thousand times this.

        > They need support and encouragement, not scolding (however mild)
        > about “not staying negative”.

        I’m not sure. In community organizing I work with a lot of Baby Boomers. Many of them are soooo very negative; so negative they cannot even percieve their negativitiy. Occasionally a pointed scold is purposeful.

        > “I think liberal humanists desperately need the gospel….”
        > I wonder how “progressive” he got before he moved to “post-progressive”.

        I wondered the same thing! Which takes one back to the problem of defining “progressive”. I wonder how more how Not-Conservative he became before becoming Post-Progressive. And where does one go from Post-Conservative?

        Evangelical -> Post-Evangelical -> Progressive -> Post-Progressive -> ????

  5. anonymous says

    trumpvangelicalism

  6. Iain Lovejoy says

    The question that needs answering is “What’s the point of being a Christian?” The fundamental truth of progressive Christianity (and it is a truth) is that the answer isn’t “Avoiding hell by being good little boys and girls, following the rules, signing up to the correct altar call, church and theological position statement and obeying the men (always men) in charge.” The difficulty for progressive Christianity is that it isn’t (just) social justice, radical inclusion and generally being nice to everyone that is the answer either, since you can attempt all of these things perfectly satisfactorily without being a Christian at all.
    If someone is going to call themselves “post-progressive” they’ll need a new or at least different answer to the above.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      An old answer will suffice, I believe…

      He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God.
      Athanasius, On The Incarnation of the Word of God

      The avoidance of Hell answer is actually kind of recent vintage. Still, as truncated and crippling as it is, at least it has a supernatural component, unlike the Democratosis of “progressive” Christianity. Beck is right to move past it.

      Richard Beck has been on a tear recently.

      • Iain Lovejoy says

        I don’t think you can move *past* as such the aim of individual and collective human flourishing that progressive Christianity insists on, in opposition to the fundies’ “religion is there to save you from God” idiocy, and if that is their only “supernatural” element it’s in my view completely pointless, since it worships a blasphemous parody of God: you may as well give credit for the “supernatural” element of a devil-worshipper’s worshipping the devil. What you do need to do is build more into iand on onto progressive Christianity. Progressive Christianity ‘s aims are less misguided or misapplied and more in themselves insufficient. Love of humanity and creation is the essential building block on which is built love of their creator.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Any talk of human “flourishing” needs a lot more content added to it than I’m currently seeing before I can uncritically accept that program.

          A very disillusioned Peace Corps worker was drinking himself into oblivion in a Peruvian bar when I walked in. Knowing me as the Evangelical missionary I was at that time, he poured out his soul to me. He had been working for five years in the altiplano teaching the peones how to increase their crop yields and putting in wells. As the result of his team’s labor the average income in the district went up about 60%, but the main beneficiaries of that were the pimps and sellers of cheap liquor.

          He staggered to his feet. “The poor are ASSHOLES! Just like us! It took five years of my life for me to learn that. You Christers are doing the right thing. I used to hate your guts, your smug well-fed white faces (the PC worker looked kind of Scandinavian, if it matters) telling the little brown people what to do, but you touch something somewhere in them we can’t get to. They start going to the church, they stop drinking, they stay married, they send their kids to school, and in ten years, they’re voting AP (Accion Popular, a Peruvian center-right party, roughly Republican but not as despised).”

          • Iain Lovejoy says

            “As the result of his team’s labor the average income in the district went up about 60%, but the main beneficiaries of that were the pimps and sellers of cheap liquor.”
            Hmm. Are we talking increases in the labourers’ wages or in farm yields and profits? These are rarely the same thing. Getting and staying married, and sending kids to school don’t happen if you are on barely subsistence wages, and a lot of these farms pay their peons in drink. Prostitutes and cheap liquor tend to be the amusements of labourers in communal accommodation, where thee aren’t many women or they can’t afford to run a home, and there’s nothing they can expect in the future but more of the same.
            That being said, a bigger paycheck to spend with nothing lasting or worthwhile to aim for is not a recipe on its own for happiness, and prosperity needs a purpose, too, something which can easily be overlooked.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              Ben gave me the impression that he had been working with small landholders, as Peru had recently implemented a land distribution reform.

              I didn’t press too hard for details. Ben wasn’t in much shape to elaborate. Your points are taken, but at some point the work camp is internalized, and the work has be undertaken to eliminate it.

          • Robert F says

            I think Ben is a figment of your imagination, or, at the very least, your memory of who he was and what he said has been greatly distorted by projection of your words and thought onto him. He sounds just like you.

    • “The difficulty for progressive Christianity is that it isn’t (just) social justice, radical inclusion and generally being nice to everyone that is the answer either, since you can attempt all of these things perfectly satisfactorily without being a Christian at all.”

      However, the Bible does speak in approving terms of such people, often in scathing comparison to those who call themselves “God’s people” and do not do those things. So the truth might lie closer to that pole than the “supernatural” one, at least in our time and place…

      • Burro (Mule) says

        Nah.
        What St Athanasius refers to is just as hard for kind inclusive people as it is for truculent judgemental hardasses. We all start at Square One. Every day.

        Jesus did say “let he who has two cloaks share with him who has none”, not “let he who has one cloak vote to have Caesar take away a cloak from someone who has two and give it to him who has none”.

        Let the guy who has two cloaks bribe, cajole, sue, and threaten until he has seventy cloaks, and is sneering at the shivering masses telling them to be ye warmed and fed. It doesn’t change my responsibility.

        • We all start at square one, but the Bible still says it’s better to obey than not, even if you are a pagan. Saying “nah” is no negation of that.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            You don’t get it. I’m not against helping the poor. I just don’t see where Jesus makes it Caesar’s responsibility, or makes it a Gospel duty to vote for politicians who propose a redistributive policy. I guess I’m looking for withering away of the state in this matter.

            • Did Jesus *have* to spell out a complete socio-economic system? Does it matter if Caesar feeds the poor? Or are you upset that Caesar may take some of your stuff to do so? It’s not like the Bible says the government has the right to tax us, right?

              • Burro (Mule) says

                To be honest, I’m far, far more upset about the amount going to armaments than I am about the piddling crumbs Caesar tosses to the poor. Of the six times I’ve written my Congressperson in the last three decades, all of them have been about avoiding war. It seems incredible, but this last week they actually seem to have taken my advice.

                Every dollar that Caesar takes from me, though, and he takes a good bit, is a dollar I can’t allocate as I see fit. Are you accusing me of wanting to have it so that I can spend it on my lusts?

                (You wouldn’t be far from the mark, but that’s beside the point)

                • Burro you want a nation of saints. I want a nation that has a practical, working method of getting as many people a cloak as possible as efficiently and as inexpensively as possible.

        • “Jesus did say “let he who has two cloaks share with him who has none”, not “let he who has one cloak vote to have Caesar take away a cloak from someone who has two and give it to him who has none”.”

          So, what’s your opinion on Joseph’s governmental appropriation and redistribution system in Egypt, as described in Genesis?

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Genesis 47:18-27

            The people became Pharaoh’s slaves, and were allowed only what Joseph allotted to them which, since he was a Godly man, was relatively generous.

            If there had been anyone listening when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, there was nothing impeding them from undertaking the same frugality.

            • And Joseph said his plan was ordained by God to save both Egypt and Israel. Was he wrong?

              • Burro (Mule) says

                It worked out well for the Israelites. Are you claiming the same clairvoyance for your party’s policies?

                • I’m saying your assumption that government-run charity is inherenly bad runs counter to specific biblical examples.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Good point.

      In defense on Progressive Christianity I would say that it is about human flourishing.

      It is not “[just]” about Social Justice, it is that injustice is flourishing denied or constrained.

      It is not about being nice to everyone, it is that kindness expands flourishing.

      And I still don’t really know what “radical inclusion” means; but I’m happy to just shrug that kind of talk off.

      • Iain Lovejoy says

        For the sake of fairness I felt the need to flippantly over-simplify the description of progressive Christianity as I had already done so for fundies. By “radical inclusion” I mean the accepting of everybody regardless whoever they are. “Human flourishing” iis an excellent description of what progressive Christianity’s social agenda is all about and I wish the phrase had occurred to me when I wrote the comment. I agree with Eeyore that the truth is a lot closer to the progressive “pole” than the alternative.
        My own view is that while human flourishing is indeed the end goal, experience of and unity with the divine is an essential part of that flourishing, and, importantly, human nature being such that it is, idealistic attempts at achieving even very much earthly flourishing seem to go tits up on a depressingly regular basis without a spiritual element to keep them on track (or with a spiritual element that turns out to be dodgy). Marxist revolutionary communism started with that kind of idealism, people keep trying variations on the free love, hippy, anarcho-communalism sort society and even fascism starts off with the idea of promoting flourishing, at least for “our kind of people”.
        As the article says above, atheism isn’t the worst thing that can happen, but it’s not the best either.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > I felt the need to flippantly over-simplify

          No offense taken.

          > My own view is that while human flourishing is indeed the end goal, experience of and unity with
          > the divine is an essential part of that flourishing,

          Agree, I think that is where Religion comes in. And that it bears so much common thread with ‘non-religion’ flourishing is a strength, not a weakness.

    • Christiane says

      “What’s the point of being a Christian?”
      yes, the Incarnation is a great answer . . . . Christ assumes our humanity to Himself to heal it

      We want to be a ‘healed humanity’ . . . . and maybe it doesn’t matter all that much who is included in that healing if they call themselves ‘Christian’ or by another label . . . . just to be humane and whole again in Christ must mean something to us who know of the Incarnation

      ” If the life of the poorest being that crawls on the earth is not respected as a great and holy mystery, then it may be that humans go “free” of all limits, become disoriented, and are truly unable to find themselves.”
      (Wendell Berry)

      those words, those words:
      “If the life of the poorest being that crawls on the earth is not respected as a great and holy mystery,
      then . . . ”

      reading those words, I thought of a poem by the step-daughter of an old, dear friend . . . here is a portion from Anne’s poem:

      “Too often, I hear only judgments and anger ringing through my head,
      and I cannot be a source of hope.

      I want to cry.
      I want to scream to Heaven:
      Make me better!
      Let me embrace all broken things–
      unlimbed spiders,
      the curled corpse of a rat,
      drug-addicted mothers,
      my humanly perfect son,
      my aging face–
      with tenderness.
      Let me stop being that thing against which anything, everything, can break.”

      now Anne is Jewish, not Christian, but she is also of the ‘humanity’ that Our Lord took to Himself to heal, so her poem has a meaning of the ‘longing’ of our species to BE healed of all that keeps us inhumane in this world we inhabit where so much is taken for granted and all around us are ‘great and holy mysteries’

      So Our Lord came to restore us, to renew us, to lead us from death into life, to heal the deep wound in us that is destructive and uncaring and unloving . . . . He came to assume our ‘humanity’ and in HIm, to make it whole again as it once was in Eden

      that is why I think being ‘Christian’ matters, that we can also see the ‘Christian’ in those who reach out their hands to be saved from the burden of their own inhumanity. . . . .

  7. Burro (Mule) says

    An old answer will suffice, I believe…

    He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God.
    Athanasius, On The Incarnation of the Word of God

    The avoidance of Hell answer is actually kind of recent vintage. Still, as truncated and crippling as it is, at least it has a supernatural component, unlike the “Democratosis” of “progressive” Christianity. Beck is right to move past it.

    Richard Beck has been on a tear recently.

  8. Burro (Mule) says

    Christiane, your participation on this forum means a great deal to me. We are by no means kindred spirits but I have the feeling you don’t have any enemies. That is a place I am trying to work towards.

  9. senecagriggs says
    • anonymous says
      • senecagriggs says

        I absolutely love that Orhtodox chant.

        “Lord, someday when I get to sing with the Heavenly chorus, may you let me sing that song as a basso..”

        • Dana Ames says

          Chesnokov – memory eternal – is the absolute best “Cathedral style” Orthodox composer. Beauty, reverence, complete musical coherence. Listen to his works for your soul’s sake, even if you don’t know the words (but the words are always awesome, no matter the setting).

          Translation:
          We hymn Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks unto Thee, oh Lord; and we pray unto Thee, oh our God.

          This is sung at the point of the Liturgy where the bread and wine are being consecrated – when the priest prays the invocation to the Holy Spirit to make the change, and the people affirm: Amen, Amen, Amen.

          I think the Lord will grant your prayer, Sen. There’s a saying that floats around the Orthodox Church, very much based on, and making sense in, Orthodox theology: Everyone is Orthodox; some people just don’t know it yet. 🙂

          Dana

          • Christiane says

            Hello Dana,
            “Everyone is Orthodox; some people just don’t know it yet.”

            If we consider the great mystery of the Incarnation, you may be right.

            Someone on another comment has mentioned ‘radical inclusion’, and it is my own belief that the power of Christ to save is more vast and more inclusive and more healing than we can ever hope for:
            imagine, that in the act of the Incarnation,
            He took us, assuming our humanity, to Himself in order to heal it . . . .
            . . . . . the only response is ‘Alleluia’ 🙂

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8Wwd4dSZJg

            ‘Salvation Is Created’
            (Pavel Chesnokov)

            ‘Salvation is created in the midst of the Earth
            O God, O Our God,
            Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia”

    • You going to start attending an EO church, Seneca? 😉

  10. Rick Ro. says

    I wonder if this is why a person would move away from being “progressive” to being “post-progressive.” When you see your own people doing bad things, you either join in or shift away.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/rise-above-knee-jerk-liberalism/

    A couple of blurbs:

    “Too often, we liberals embrace people who don’t look like us, but only if they think like us.
    George Yancey, a black evangelical who is a sociology professor, once told me: ‘Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black. But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.'”

    “As a liberal, I mostly write about conservative blind spots. But on the left as well as the right, we can get so caught up in our narratives that we lose perspective; nobody has a monopoly on truth.”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > But on the left as well as the right, we can get so caught up in our narrative

      Oh, yes. Narratives are a deep flaw of the Left.

      Although I’d point out this seems to be conflating Liberalism, Progressivism, and “Left”. These are three distinct things.

      • Rick Ro. says

        –> “Although I’d point out this seems to be conflating Liberalism, Progressivism, and ‘Left’. These are three distinct things.”

        Yep. Agreed. But I think the reason for wanting to distance yourself from (or feel discontentment with) any one of those might be similar, thus the reason for posting.

    • Christiane says

      it’s not even about ‘truth’ anymore so much as about having compassion for the feelings and needs of others that, in their weakness, can lead them into fearfulness and make them vulnerable to the manipulation of those who would control them for agendas that come from a dark place

      liberals may condemn such fearful people, but that doesn’t move anything forward in a good direction,
      it just makes the ‘liberal’ react rather than try to listen

      maybe ‘listening’ is the most radical of all responses/ministries in the Church

      just listening . . . . it might help relieve some of that fearfulness that is out there

  11. Iain Lovejoy says

    “Let the guy who has two cloaks bribe, cajole, sue, and threaten until he has seventy cloaks, and is sneering at the shivering masses telling them to be ye warmed and fed. It doesn’t change my responsibility.”
    I’m not my brother’s keeper, after all, and it doesn’t count as my sin so long as I don’t get involved, si long as its not me personally but a government I voted for doing things on my behalf.
    It’s not as if God has ever held a people responsible for its leaders, and there’s nothing in the Bible at all about making laws requiring people to give of their surplus to the poor.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      OK, got me there.

      But what I meant is that my responsibility is not discharged by pointing at the rich sociopath, redirecting blame to him, and demanding that the government ‘do something’ about him. I will still be judged for my response, or lack of it, to the poor.

      As far as concerns the .01 percenter, my responsibility to him may differ according to my office.

      • If that doesn’t apply to you, fine. But we’re still gonna ask that the rich sociopath pay their fair share. It’s not only biblical, it’s sound economics.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          There’s the rub. Someone has to determines what is fair. Hopefully it will be someone as humble, as service-minded, and as generous as Joseph the All-Comely.

          The track record hasn’t been good for the last 100 years.