How many times have you started a conversation by saying “I’m Christian, but I’m not…crazy/fundamentalist/mean/convinced that there is a war on Christmas”? It is always really icky-feeling, isn’t it?
As progressive Christians, we have GOT to get rid of this precursor to all that we are. By speaking like this, we are only reinforcing that normative Christianity IS crazy/fundamentalist/mean/convinced that there is a war on Christmas–that we are the outliers.
And “War on Christmas” Christianity is not normative–it is not the true Jesus movement, it is not our religion. The way of truth and life, the way of resurrection and restoration and reconciliation, THAT is our religion. Let’s start talking about ourselves as if that’s true.
So, here are some ways that we can describe who we are that don’t begin with “But I’m not…”
I am a Progressive Christian, and I believe that God loves me and you and everybody exactly as they are, unconditionally.
Yet, God loves us too much to leave us that way–I am a Progressive Christian because I believe that God is always pushing me to grow in love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that my God actually chose to be human like us–and live the beautiful, painful, messy life of a human just like us–solely to love us better.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that God rose from the dead in order to prove how much we are loved.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that my God gives me the tools–and the command–to spread the story of resurrection and love to those who need it most.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that I–and all people–are invited to find healing from all pain, sorrow, and failure at God’s table during communion.
I am a Progressive Christian because I believe that through Jesus, God declared that death, hate and oppression are never the last word.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that, in our very busy world, my Christian faith offers me a time to slow down and take my relationships seriously.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that, in our divided and fearful world, my Christian faith offers me a way to live into connection, belonging, and trust.
I am a Progressive Christian, because I believe that racism, and sexism, and all the isms that separate us from seeing each other as full humans, are sins against God, and in faith, we are called to stand up against them.
So, the next time you have to awkwardly explain why you go to church at a party or comedy club, or some other thing where church is a jaw dropping absurdity–here are some ways to explain, honestly, without setting up the “War on Christmas” Church as normative. Here are some ways to say who you are without saying who you aren’t first.
Some of my inspiration, when I face this challenge, is contained in these inspiring pieces:
What other ways do you describe who you are to people who associate all Christians with fundamentalists? How are you reclaiming what the Jesus movement truly is?