What is progressive spirituality?
There are progressive forms of all the major world religions. Progressive spirituality is generally characterised by:
a commitment to pluralism (i.e. the belief that there are multiple paths to the Divine)
a belief in the equality of all people irrespective, for example, of gender, sexuality, race, culture, religious or spiritual tradition
inclusiveness and welcoming of diversity
a recognition of the importance of mystical experience (i.e. direct personal experience of the Divine) and of individual spiritual autonomy
a view of both nature and the self as embodiments of Divine presence and therefore as sacred
an emphasis on the importance of moving towards an authenticity of being and of enhancing our human capacity for love, kindness and compassion
a search for religious forms which are intellectually credible in the light of modern scientific and psychological knowledge and understanding
a movement away from the literal interpretation of sacred texts
a commitment to genuine, open–minded interfaith dialogue
Compassion grows with the inner recognition that your neighbour shares your humanity with you. This partnership cuts through all walls which might have kept you separate. Across all barriers of land and language, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, we are one, created from the same dust, subject to the same laws, destined for the same end.
Henri J. M. Nouwen
'Progressive Christianity is an open, intelligent and collaborative approach to the Christian tradition
and the life and teachings of Jesus that create pathways into an authentic and relevant religious experience.'
Extract from the Progressive Christianity website
Their statement of the 'Eight Points of Progressive Christianity' is as follows:
'By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…
1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people;
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
6. Strive for peace and justice among all people;
7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.'
For further information about progressive Christianity, see the following:
The Progressive Christianity website at www.progressivechristianity.org
David Felten and Jeff Proctor Murphy (2012) Living the Questions: The wisdom of progressive Christianity HarperOne