I AM A PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN because I believe that doubting, questioning and searching is a legitimate and mature expression of faith, and that for many Christians a season of deconstruction is a necessary and vital part of the faith journey.
I AM A POST-PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN because I believe a faith journey that terminates and exhausts itself in doubt, negation, and deconstruction will eventually lead to a loss of faith or to a faith that is functionally atheistic. Deconstruction must be followed by reconstruction, and while seasons of deconstruction will continue to play a vital and necessary role going forward, and dark nights of the soul always a live possibility, the reconstructed Christian experience should become increasingly characterized by positivity, joy, affirmation, praise, hope, and faithfulness.
“Deconstruction must be followed by reconstruction.”
For me, that reconstruction (as a post-evangelical, not a post-progressive) has come primarily…
Through moving from parish ministry as a pastor to serving as a hospice chaplain.
Through moving from the church world into the “ordinary” world of daily life in the community.
Through engaging in an ongoing process of trying to understand what the Bible is and what it is for.
Through moving from immersion in the culture of American evangelicalism to a less separatistic, more “religionless” Christianity (Bonhoeffer).
Through abandoning a more “missionary” mindset to practicing more of a “love your neighbor” mindset.
Through embracing a sacramental perspective, in which God is really present in his creation and we participate in the divine reality.
Through disavowing revivalistic or other deficient models of “worship,” and embracing the fundamentals of historic liturgy.
Through focusing on three primary areas of biblical study: (1) Creation, (2) the Gospels, (3) Eschatology. These foci have helped me construct (1) a robust sense of vocation, (2) a more Jesus-shaped mindset rather than a biblicist mindset, (3) an earthier future hope.
Through moving away from a primarily forensic view of justification to one more akin to theosis, in which the believer participates in the life of God through union with Christ.
As you can see from the many links above (and these are just a sampling), this reconstruction project has largely coincided with my time here writing at Internet Monk.
I have lots of areas where I’ve perhaps gone through the “deconstruction” stage without beginning to rebuild anything solid in its place. For our purposes here, the main one is…
I’m still, to some degree, in the post-ecclesiastical wilderness. When it comes to the institution of the church, I’m still somewhat of a “square peg.”