One of the many beauties of the Gospel is Christ’s consistent call to the Third Way, a previously unconsidered third alternative between the polarities of Liberal and Conservative. One author, in speaking to that challenge especially as it relates to the more liberal wing of Christianity recently wrote …
It’s hard to build excitement for your vision of progressive Christianity when the vibe is ironic, cynical, intellectualized or coolly detached. It’s hard to build excitement for your vision of progressive Christianity when you are being paradoxical, post-modern, or deconstructive. It’s hard to build excitement for your vision of progressive Christianity when it often reduces to liberal humanism, existentialism, functional atheism or simply voting for Democrats.
Basically, I think progressive Christianity struggles because it often fails to give people a real, honest-to-God, bible-thumping fight. More precisely, progressive Christianity has a lot of fight in it, but it has often struggled to articulate that fight in robustly biblical ways. (Let alone the major problem of progressive Christians being too reactionary, focusing much of their fight against conservative Christians.)
So the goal is to find that robust biblical language around which we can articulate a re-imagined world that cuts between the polarities of left and right. Such an articulation considers many necessities including the necessity of appropriate self critique as well as appropriate critique of systemic failures. No one then gets “off the hook.” We are all in it. All responsible at both and individual and corporate level. That I believe will lead us to the kind of Christianity that gives opportunity. As Seth Godin phrased it, “The opportunity is to actually create something that people choose to talk about.”
That cannot be done in isolation. It takes community. There is no “lone wolf” here given how prone we are to make salvation a purely private and thence self-absorbed affair. As Emanuel Swedenborg noted, “along with that love comes wisdom about how to involve others” in that building. (True Christianity 661) Salvation, which could be read in many ways “freedom”, occurs in relationship. Churches, I hope, can find their way back to the third way.