Transforming Christian Theology: Part Three
Part Three of the book is called “Theologies that Can Transform Society” and basically extends the argument Clayton made for how better theology can breathe life and light into churches to the realm of the broader culture. Clayton calls us to move beyond traditional liberal/conservative battles, to embrace a more holistic understanding of the nature of our problems as human beings and how the gospel addresses them. He calls us to a bigger understanding of what salvation is and how it works, and encourages us to allow these new understandings to move beyond the church and have a transformative effect upon our culture (by “culture,” Clayton seems to mean “American culture”). In sum, Clayton’s is a call to unite social action and traditional evangelical zeal for cognitive and emotional embrace of the truth of Christ into a more robust and “progressive” Christianity that involves hearts, minds, hands, and feet.
According to Clayton, the “progressive” Christianity he advocates is characterized by:
- A spiritual vitality and expressiveness, including participatory, arts-infused, and lively worship as well as a variety of spiritual rituals and practices such as meditation;
- Intellectual integrity, including a willingness to question;
- An affirmation of human diversity;
- An affirmation of the Christian faith with a simultaneous sincere respect for other faiths;
- Strong ecological concerns and commitments;
- Social justice commitments.
Rather than a lengthy excursus on what I think should/should not be on a “progressive Christianity” checklist (or whether I think compiling such a checklist is even a worthy endeavor), I thought I would simply solicit your feedback. We postmoderns are all about the wisdom of the community, and learning from the insights of diverse voices, right? So what do you think?
Does the summary above accurately reflect what ought to characterize progressive (or any other kind of) Christianity?
- What do you like on the list?
- What’s missing from the list?
- Do lists like this serve a useful function?
- Does this list describe a Christianity you could/would embrace (or have embraced)?
- What questions does a list like this provoke?
What say you?