Houston Smith was a mentor of mine when I was going to school in Berkeley. He was a student of world religions and thought that Progressive Christianity as moving further and further toward “a rallying cry to be good.” This is a message that he and I both think misses the mark. Yes, we need justice. But we also need transcendence. People desperately seek transcendence. [i]
I most admire the brand of Progressive Christianity that seeks justice and also wholeheartedly celebrates transcendence and Mystery with a capital M, including the Mystery of God with us (Emanuel).
Some might press further…and ask, what is your core orthodoxy?
Jesus is the plumb line of faith for me and for most Liberal Mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox. Anything in scripture that conforms to the inclusive love of Jesus found in His dynamic unity of Divinity and humanity and in His words in the Gospels, I accept. The areas of Paul and the Hebrew Scriptures that contradict that spirit of inclusive love, I take to be culturally conditioned and outside of the primary Gospel witness.
Jesus is the exquisite Mystic, upon which all Christian Mysticism is based. Jesus’ united nature apprehended through prayer and through his teachings are my alternative orthodoxy, which informs how I interpret the Bible.[ii]
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[i] Smith, Houston. The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition, pg. XX.
[ii] For a thorough treatment of how I interpret Jesus please see my first book, Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots.
Enjoy Rich’s interview on the Pilgrim Podcast: Silence + The Contemplative Path