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Active Spirit ~ Servanthood and Faith Issues

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"Will we amble through these gates into a temporary place; Wash our hands of in-transient things?"

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A word from the proud religious left...

I came back to the Christian faith as a young adult, but only after some intellectual exploration. Christianity has a bad rap today, largely because it has been co-opted by other political and social agendas that seek to preserve the status of the entitled classes by marginalizing and excluding others. Yet, while popular mythology would like to believe that the Church arose from thin air for the purpose of exploiting and oppressing others, a study of its history will quickly prove otherwise. The Church and the Christian faith have been responsible for some of the best social advancements in our culture, including ending slavery, the women's suffrage movement, child labor laws and civil rights. Not that the Church has not done some horrible things - it has and still continues to do so. It has unwittingly become the agent of the social and political status quo by ignoring the plain sense of the work and ministry of Jesus. But power taken is often the result of power freely given, and we humans have a tendency to do that whether it be to governments, religious institutions, or other social structures.

Scripture can be alive and inspiring, or we can kill it by using it as a stumbling block to love. Tradition can be a curse or a blessing. It can link us with a rich heritage and it can also fossilize us into inaction at best and complicity in some of the most egregious abuses at worst. And far too many people have decided to throw out Reason because the world has grown complex and it takes too much effort to look for shades of gray or challenge ourselves to grow in wisdom and understanding.

 
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If our faith, however, doesn't challenge us to embrace others, including those we would be tempted to exclude, then it does nothing. For God's Reign is about love. I hold dear to a vision of the Christian faith that has and can still renew the world... if only we would step away from old paradigms of thinking and behavior and embrace a new vision for what God calls us to be for others. I am always mindful of the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, repairing the world. It is the responsibility of all people, Judeo-Christian or not, religious or not. It seems that many Christians have forgotten that.

The Progressive Christian movement seeks to reclaim this vision of God's love and justice for everyone. In response to the powerful and pervasive voices of fundamentalist Christianity in American culture today, organizations like The Center for Progressive Christianity, Social Redemption, and Cross Walk America work towards social justice for all people. As such, I commend them to your attention, particularly, TCPC's 8 Points and the The Phoenix Affirmations from Cross Walk America. While my Rule of Life and the doctrines of my church are foundational for my life, these two re-statements of progressive Christianity are important documents that help me define the goals of my Christian faith.

Servants of the Servants of God...

  Convocation
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Convocation 2008. Photos photos
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The Brotherhood of Saint Gregory is a Christian Community of the Episcopal Church, whose members follow a common rule and serve the church on parochial, diocesan, and national levels. I have been a member since 1993, and while not all members of the Brotherhood share my views on a variety of issues, they embrace and uphold me in my ministry and witness. Members—clergy and lay, without regard to marital status—live individually, in small groups, or with their families. They support themselves and the community through their secular or church-related work, making use of their God-given talents in the world while not being of the world. The trust that all labor and life can be sanctified is summed up in the community's motto: Soli Deo Gloria, To God Alone the Glory.

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Reflections of an unabashed political and social progressive, Gen-X poet, and Episcopal religious, looking to help God redeem the establishment from the inside out.
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