Kudos to Dave on a good post about what one liberal Methodist looks like. Dave and I don’t agree on a number of things–mostly politics and football–but it’s nice to see somebody articulating a progressive agenda without also attempting to do away with the majority of Christian doctrines.


About Derek Olsen

I'm a layman within the Episcopal Church with a PhD in New Testament and an interest in most things medieval, monastic, and liturgical. My chief job is keeping up with my priestly wife and our two awesome kids. In addition to that, I earn a living, run the St Bede's Breviary, listen to loud goth/industrial music, and do some stuff for the church. I currently serve as Secretary to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music where I'm also co-chair of the Calendar committee and chair of the Digital Publications committee.
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4 Responses to Liberals…

  1. Lutheran Zephyr says:

    Hmmm . . . I was a bit surprised by your post. I wonder if you aren’t doing liberals/progressives a slight bit of a disservice in your post. It seems that you expect liberals to disregard the majority of Christian doctrines.

    I didn’t realize that liberalism/progressivism and fidelity to the Christian tradition was such a hard tension to embrace. Of course, you are in a much better position than I to evaluate the state of Christian scholarship and its fidelity to traditional Christian doctrines. And maybe most self-described liberals reject core elements of our doctrinal tradition – I honestly wouldn’t know. I haven’t read or studied most liberal Christian scholars. But as someone who self-identifies in the Progressive Camp and yet who holds to doctrinal fundamentals such as the divinity of Christ, the reality of the resurrection, etc. etc., I didn’t realize that I was doing such a difficult or inconsistant thing.

    No disrepect intended, but I found nothing really earth-shadderingly unique about his post. I resonate with much of what Dave writes, but I’m not sure that Dave does anything in this post that I haven’t read or encountered elsewhere . . .

    Sorry if I come off sounding flippant. That’s not my intention. It’s just that what you find pleasantly surprising or refreshing I find to be a no-brainer.

  2. Derek the Ænglican says:

    It *should* be a no-brainer… But it’s not always. I draw the line at a literal interpretation of the creeds as the core of Christian doctrine. Many of the progressive types that I know or who have taught at the various seminaries I have known refuse to go there.

    Furthermore–speaking as a moderate–this is one of the issuses that conservatives take issue with and use as a wedge in our respective communions. The default stance of conservatives seems to be that a progressive agenda and bad theology go hand in hand. What I appreciate here is that Dave has laid out that–for him certainly–that’s not the case. I think that *more* progressives need to step up and say it publically too.

    Some conservatives pick on theological slackness to create a wedge issue; overs do it because they genuinely believe that good theology matters. For those who *are* interested in dialogue, they need to know what the deal is to get beyond caricatures.

  3. Gracious Light says:

    Yup to not have anything but a “duh” is exactly the point, I hope.

  4. LutheranChik says:

    When I was involved in what I’ll call the Beliefnet debating society, it was the socially progressive folks in the discussion who most passionately defended the creedal affirmations of Christianity. Ironically I think that was in part because, unlike persons in other Christian traditions, we affirm the words of the creeds every day. But yet the conservative folk kept intimating that non-social conservatives had ipso facto jettisoned the basics of the Christian faith. In any event, it was an incredibly wearying circular conversation.

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