Category Archives: Progressive Christian

About Progressive Christianity, especially in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australasia

Robin Meyers – Saving Jesus from the Church

Robin Meyers was the keynote speaker at the recent Progressive Spirituality Conference in Napier.  Here are some YouTube links to some presentations  put on line by Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney.

Continue reading Robin Meyers – Saving Jesus from the Church

Christians – Dangerous or Boring?

Tony_Franlin-RossTony Franklin-Ross shares some thoughts from the recent NZ Common Dreams Conference in Napier – first printed in Methodist Touchstone

Faith as resistance to ego, orthodoxy and the political status quo was the theme of a Progressive Spirituality NZ conference that was held in Napier on 6-8 May.  The gathering drew 122 people from around New Zealand, and they heard a number of speakers address the topic.

The keynote speaker was US author Rev Dr Robin Meyers, who is known for his books The Underground Church, Saving Jesus from the Church, and Spiritual Defiance. Robin criticises the church for neglecting the initial concept of Jesus’ Way, in favour of beliefs and dogma that were created later.

He suggests the Beatitudes is closer to the creed of the early followers of the Jesus Way, along with the affirmations ‘Jesus is Lord’ and ‘Caesar is not’. Christianity was initially not a belief system but a peculiar way of being in the world.

Robin also criticised contemporary empires that protect the majority and the status quo in a broken world. Rather than be content to benefit from such structures, the Church should meet in joyful defiance to the political and economic prophets of power, he says.

Jim McAloon provided examples of faith-based resistance in Aotearoa. These include the Peace Squadron, the anti-Apartheid movement, and the Hikoi of Hope, as well as earlier reforms against sweated labour, peace movements, and the development of the welfare state as ‘applied Christianity’.

Playwright and actor Jo Randerson explored the place of art. Is art just nice decoration, the icing on the cake of society, or can it be used to challenge, question and disrupt the status quo? Jo says the arts can provide different voices and explore different possibilities.

Be wary of the seeds sewn into the fabric of the Bible that can be used to suppress, exploit and dominate. This was the message Robert Myles brought to the conference. Robert says the Bible is used to support reaction and revolution.

How can the Bible be used to counter current politics and economic inequality, rather than romanticise Jesus’ poverty as a way of life?

While the conference stirred cerebral activity, counter-point moments were provided through pop-up engagement with the works of Shakespeare and workshops on drama, dance, art, walking and meditation.  The conference dinner was embellished with spiritual songs, themselves voices of resistance and hope, performed by the Napier Community Gospel Choir.

It is hard to do justice to two days of stimulating presentations and conversation. Challenges were laid and questions asked:

  • How do prophetic voices of resistance get translated into action?
  • Does the church need to do a rummage sale of the things in its attics of orthodoxy?
  • Jesus’ people were once anti-imperial, a thorn in the side of the establishment.

Have Christians gone from being dangerous to be being boring?

United Church in Canada and Gretta Vosper

UNITED CHURCH REFUSES TO HEAR APPEAL OF REVEREND VOSPER

The Rev. Gretta Vosper, an ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes in neither God nor the Bible. Photo courtesy of Gretta Vosper
The Rev. Gretta Vosper, an ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes in neither God nor the Bible. Photo courtesy of Gretta Vosper

After deliberating for more than three months, having received ten volumes of materials consisting of approximately 1700 pages of written submissions, this week the United Church of Canada appeal court (the Judicial Committee Executive) issued a one-page decision refusing, without reasons, to hear Reverend Gretta Vosper’s appeal.

Rev. Vosper is the Minister of West Hill United Church (“West Hill”), located in Scarborough and within the Toronto Conference of the UCC. Rev. Vosper is a self-described atheist who believes in a metaphorical god instead of the traditional theistic vision of god.

Continue reading United Church in Canada and Gretta Vosper

FutureChurch?   10 years on and the Church is still dying

Rosemary neave
Rosemary

Rosemary Neave was behind a venture called FutureChurch funded by the Methodist Church to network and explore new ways of being ‘church’ – particularly those emerging outside the institutional Church. Now living in Christchurch.  

She wrote this recent piece for Methodist Touchstone. Rosemary reflects…

http://www.christianpost.com/news/saving-a-dying-church-94962/
Credit

All the statistics indicate the Church as we know it, is (still) on its way out. Grey haired Senior card holders largely fill the pews, and any work with young people does not seem to have resulted in any pathway of strong belonging as they get older. Continue reading FutureChurch?   10 years on and the Church is still dying

Tips for starting a Local Progressive Group

Extracts from Tips for starting and maintaining a local group from the global network ProgressiveChristianity.org

progressive christianity logoBe able to say in a sentence or two why you want to form the group. For example, do you want to deepen your understanding of the progressive approach to Christianity, be able to articulate a progressive viewpoint in conversations with others, create a supporting community, enhance your ability to strive for peace and justice in the world, some combination of these, or do you have some other objective?  Get clear about what you want to be about. Continue reading Tips for starting a Local Progressive Group