Reclaiming a voice

by Richard on September 27, 2005

I’ve been asked (very politely) to give a plug for the forthcoming Values, vision and the via media conference, and I’m very pleased to accede.

Who speaks for “Christian Values” in America today? Does the Religious Right speak for all Christians or is there a progressive perspective on Christian Values that has been sadly lacking in the public discourse?

Since November 2004, progressive Christians across the country have been mobilizing to respond to those questions—organizing to claim their tradition, to work as a united front for social justice, and to publicly disavow the fringe radicals who have attempted to co-opt the name of the church in America.

Sounds like the sort of thing I’d want to go to if I was able. Washington DC is a fair trip from Swansea, so sadly I’ll have to forego the pleasure. The cost sounds high, but I gather there are arrangements available for those who are strapped for cash.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }


Revwilly 09.27.05 at 8:29 pm

Progressive Christian values have been well known for years and people are rejecting them for values being articulated by the more conservative Christian community.


Richard 09.27.05 at 9:26 pm

Some people are, it’s true. Many aren’t. Those who aren’t are speaking up, and that’s a Good Thing imho.
But supposing everyone rejected progressive values. That wouldn’t make them wrong, would it? I’m sure you’re not suggesting that doctrinal and ethical truths are decided by majority.


Revwilly 09.27.05 at 10:32 pm

Nope, I’m not suggesting anything is made right or wrong just because a majority think so. But right now conservative values seem to have much more resonence with the majority.


Bene D 09.27.05 at 11:05 pm


Would you define progressive for me?
And also conservative values.


DH 09.28.05 at 3:18 pm

Bene, why are you asking Revwilly when you should be asking Richard? He is the one that had a post that contained the word “progressive Christian” in the post. It only seems logical that conservative Christian is the opposite “on the whole” of progressive Christian. Maybe Richards post wasn’t a good one in that it didn’t include what a progressive Christian is?

For you to ask Revwilly something that seems straight forward begs the question as to the purpose behind the question and whether or not there alterier motivies behind the question or do you really not know what a conservative Christian and progressive Christian are. (From reading your previous posts I feel you already know what they are so the “beg the question” understanding from my point is logical from my point) :)


Bene D 09.28.05 at 10:21 pm


No one is baiting Rev.Willy and Richard is most welcome to answer if he understands the terms from the perspective given.
I asked the same question at my blog because I received the email and also put it up.

No alterior motives - the email came from the US, and I think if appropriate that someone from the US who uses it answer. Is this a Democrat convention?
I have honestly not really heard some of these labels bantied about like this.

I can’t speak for all Canadians obviously, but we don’t tend to use terms such as left/right/progressive in our religious language nearly as much.
For example The United Church of Canada (as a denomination) might be called left to some, but most if they had to label might call it something else.


Richard 09.28.05 at 10:32 pm

For what it is worth, I used “progressive” because I don’t like the word “liberal”. I don’t think either of these words have got any precise meaning, especially “liberal” which seems to function mostly as a perjorative rather than as an accurately descriptive label. Much like soci alist.
Pity really, because when words lose their meanings we have no means for worthwhile dialogue and are left only with trading insults in a more or less polite tone of voice.


DH 09.29.05 at 4:07 pm

Richard, I’m sorry I used you as an example. Even before I wrote it I understood your definition of progressive as how you defined it.

To Bene, how do Canadians address the different churches who believe different things regarding the Bible that apply to all people secular and non-secular? Basically in an indirect way the different between the two is one believes certain things are not okay because the bible says they aren’t and the other believes differently but have to change the words to fit their particular view.

To Bene, I’m not a Democrat and I too am from the US. I think by your attack on Focus on the Family you already understand the answer and that is how I determined (rather hastily) the alterior I mentioned previously.


Bene D 09.29.05 at 7:50 pm


I’ll use UCCan as an example because as far as I know it is the largest protestant group in Canada.
The doctrinal statement is basic and orthodox.
Under that denominational tent you’d find a range.
- does this individual church adhere to standard historical orthodoxy? If I visited a particular UUCan church didn’t, I could go to the one down the street.

We have a lot of Baptist groups (I’ve never tried to count them) that may not have a centralized authority.
I know for example Southern Baptists are attempting church building in Canada. That’s nice. I’d be personally hesitant to enter one than a Presbyterian group, for example.
To my Canadian sensibilities and perceptions, SB’s are keen to put politics into their agenda using Christ.
If a denomination such as a SB import believes there is a ‘cultural’ war, it appears God must be used rather than the other way around. (see their Canadian website)
I might well wander into an SB church that didn’t behave/believe that way.

Don’t misunderstand me, we have the same problems any western nation has regarding churches. Maybe worse, I haven’t researched lately. We just don’t politicize everything. Canada fought internal wars over this - there are parts of the country where divides still run deep and always will.
We have a Liberal political party, a Conservative political party. Right now the libs are more conservative/right than the Conservatives in certain areas. It doesn’t serve us at all well to use political language when discussing faith.

This is a lame answer, you’d have to see for yourself as do many US visitors and tourists.
In my travels in Canada I’ve had the opportunity to worship in just about every denomination out there. I’ve seen various styles, the bottom line was (and is) was Jesus Christ lifted up, is God being glorified? Are disciples being made? Is the community being served? Do we love one another? I’ve been to Catholic churches that achieve those goals far better than some protestant ones. We also have stark raving lunatic fringe groups and cults.

I know you don’t like my position on Focus on the Family Canada, that’s okay. We’ll agree to disagree.


DH 09.29.05 at 8:54 pm

I love everything you said on this reply. Bene your great. I have the upmost respect for you. I hope you feel the same. However, on a side not the only thing I would add is the question: Are the foundations of the Christian Faith being upheld?

Yeah, while I believe to some extent in “moral standards in culture” it can go overboard. Yet for me to say there is none or shouldn’t be in light of the standards getting more and more lax I can’t help feeling the way I feel and for others to feel different seems (don’t take this wrong) odd. I’m sure the people who go extreme farther right than myself seem “odd’ to you as well. :) Well we shouldn’t attack any group that puts Faith in Christ alone for Salvation. Hence my support for FOTF. So when I see people who are Christians who don’t it seems “odd” to me as well. Well your great anyway Bene. I see your great. Hope you feel the same. Fellow bro in Christ, D. :)

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