The decline of Fall light and the rise of Autumn colors says it must be October. Although this is a month of pumpkins and a fun holiday, those of us who live in California also know to be on guard against fire and Santa Ana winds. This transition in seasons re- minds us that life is both exciting and challenging, and ever evolving.
Our church’s heritage has always been on the cutting edge of faith and religion, especially Christianity. We are known for “speaking early” on a host of social-spiritual issues, from the emancipation of slaves to women’s suffrage, to full inclusion of all people of differing sexual orienta- tions and gender identities. Our stands for and ministries to the mar- ginalized, ostracized and misunder- stood has made a difference in lives. Our niche has also garnered us a share of admirers and critics.
We claim a God who is still speak- ing and acting, and forever inviting us to participate in the re-making of the world. To remain progressive Christians, we have to be constantly seeking where the Spirit is leading.
One of the new and growing reli- gious movements in our country is the increasing number of Americans who now identifying themselves as agnostics (“not-knowing”) and or atheists (“non-theistic’). In short, many modern, educated, ethical people are rejecting belief in a su- pernatural God. While much of reli- gion, and Christianity in particular, views this trend as an existential threat, like the month of October, there is beauty, change and chal- lenge here for us who profess a dif- ferent experience of God.
The Progressive Christian move- ment professes a naturalistic God that is more in line with post-modern science and consistent with tradi- tional mysticism. We proclaim a Je- sus who was a spiritual sage and wisdom teacher of the ways of peace, love and justice, rather than an atoning blood sacrifice. We take the bible seriously but not literally. We practice democracy at church, believing the Spirit speaks best when all are heard and participate. We honor folks of many spiritual tra- ditions, and we seek to preserve the Earth in all its wonder and majesty.
October calls us to do no less. Peace to all, Pastor Mike