Sunday, December 21, 2014
Five O’clock in the Evening
Location: 2311 Walnut Blvd., Walnut Creek
“GETTING THE CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS, and Celebrating the Holy Nativity of a Human Jesus”
“And this intelligent power became human flesh and lived among us. And we have seen how high is his esteem as of a father’s only son, overflowing with loveliness of truth and love.” John 1:14
The other day a bumper sticker caught my eye which read, “We still call it Christmas.” I took it to mean the annual plea by true believers of the incarnation of a divine being in human form to remember “the reasons for the season.”
The problem for a progressive Christian who has moved beyond such notions as virgin births and gods disguised in human form that have come to save us from ourselves — even with the attribution of a “Christ” title accorded a very human Jesus — is that this historical development of an early Church about a 1st century Galilean peasant sage and itinerant preacher has subsequently all but drowned out the authentic voice of the one who was once born and dwelt among us.
If one were to remove the “Christ” title from the various birth narratives of the secondary traditions of this religious movement (the “Christmas story” as it has been taken for granted), how might we continue the path we have undertaken, and celebrate with deeper meaning the rebirth of that still, small voice?
This Sunday, we’ll have an open-ended exploration of what could define this fresh, new, open-ended movement. And we’ll still sing some favorite carols!
Please RSVP now if you’d like to join us!
Always a free event, open to everyone. RSVP: email@example.com
Newcomers always welcome. The 2015 Calendar of Gatherings is here.
Defining Progressive Christianity
An Open-Ended “Creed” for a Progressive Christian
Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
I have often said so-called “progressive Christianity” is a notion forever in search of its own elusive definition; and that’s as good a way of explaining it as we may be able to find. We live in a post-modern world that considers the age of Enlightenment to be a post-facto reality. As such, “progressive” thinking in an age of Reason has pushed the boundaries of nearly every facet of life, except one: those ‘traditional’ or ‘orthodox’ beliefs, based on certain creeds, doctrines and dogma that still dominate what it presumably means to be “Christian.” It hardly needs to be said that it is also why so many one-time believers have outgrown their one-time faith. Calling them merely “lapsed” is misleading. So much has elapsed in the world we have all come to know and take for granted, that the once-dominant Church — — despite all its denominational varieties — has fast become a post-modern relic. Yet any critical examination of how Christian scriptures developed and how the history of the tradition evolved will quickly demonstrate how it has always been in a constant state of flux, or – if you like — “progression.” It was only when it stopped and got stuck that we traded in the tent for a temple, and snuffed the life out of a movement that is progressive by its very nature. What then would constitute an honest statement of belief for at least this “progressive Christian?”
You can read this latest commentary Here.
In the last four decades, John Bennison has been a teacher, preacher, lecturer, trainer, carpenter, coffin builder, counselor, spiritual advisor, ethicist, writer and lyricist, musician and entertainer, assembly-line union worker, small business entrepreneur, residential real estate specialist, corporate cog and executive director of a faith-based non-profit organization.
He’s authored eight publications on faith and values, and as an ordained minister served as a parish pastor over 25 years. He earned his Doctorate from Claremont School of Theology, as well as his BA degree in philosophy and religion from Lake Forest College.
John contributes his leadership experience as Executive Director and Lead Teacher at Pathways, as he writes the Words & Ways commentaries and blogs on The Christian Progressive, engaging others everywhere in meaningful dialogue. He also volunteers as Director and President of the Mountain Shadow Film Society.
Meanwhile, John also continues to provide professional client services to buyers and sellers of residential real estate in the Bay Area area market (www.imaginecominghome.com).
Having raised two daughters, he resides with his spouse and golden retriever in Walnut Creek, California.