Progressive Christians realize that God is bigger than any one religion and that there are many paths to the divine.
To think that God judges others because they have not claimed Christianity as their faith flies in the face of Jesus’ two greatest commandments: “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matthew 22:37-39)
The organization ProgressiveChristianity.org lists eight points in describing Christians who call ourselves “progressive.” The first two points are:
* 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.
* 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.
So not only do we respect the paths of others, but we recognize the benefits of these other faiths. Take spirituality, for instance. The prayer and meditation practices of Buddhists and Hindus can help us feel closer to God even as we claim our Christian beliefs and follow our teacher, Jesus.
Respecting other faiths – even other expressions of Christianity – is a practice that is sorely needed these days. Any show of reconciliation and tolerance in the acrid atmosphere of today’s politics and religion can help dull the sharp edges of our social discourse. Rather than screaming at one another, we can choose to have civilized discussions.
You might be surprised at how active our church already is in the areas of ecumenism (Christians cooperating together) and interfaith (cooperation among people of different faiths). Look at page 6 for a rundown of our activities.
I invite you to explore other faiths – not with the intent to “convert,” but with the mission of learning how other people seek the divine. Try out some spiritual practices. One might resonate with you. Or not. The fastest way to understand another person is to try on her shoes and take a walk.
Blessings and peace,