All of the
following I know and trust either because I am
affiliated with them or as a result of the recommendations
of trusted associates and friends. Each name is
clickable and will transfer you to the appropriate
site. But don't forget how to get back here.
Perhaps if you left trail of breadcrumbs . . . .
I place Westar at the
top of my list because I first
learned about most of the rest of the organizations
on this list as a result of contacts I made as one
of its Fellows (professional scholars of religion).
Westar is dedicated to the advancement of religious
literacy, and is the home of the famous Jesus Seminar,
as well as of Polebridge Press, which has published two
of my books and several of my articles (the latter in
its excellent periodical The Fourth R).
The Center for Progressive
then a United Church of Christ Minister in Irvine, California
and now the Director of this organization. Its "8 Points" is
the clearest definition of what it means to be a progressive
Christian that I've found. Its Website lists those, as
Web-based ministry founded
by the Pacific School of Religion in California. It is a
information and thought-provoking writings.
for Progressive Religious Thought
This is Australia's answer to America's Center for Progressive
A. E. Hunt, an
Associate of Westar Institute. I learned of his organization
directly from him when he served as my navigator as
I drove us both to the San Francisco airport from the
the Fall 2005 Westar meeting in Santa Rosa, California.
That is not a typo: the first two words are run together.
The Founder-Director is Gregory Jenks, whom I met when
he worked for Westar, before returning home to Australia
to do his own thing. If you're getting the impression that
all of these organizations form a kind of network, you are
perceptive and correct. Evangelical and Fundamentalist
Christians would call it a "conspiracy," a word that has,
after all, the root of "spirit" in it.
Canada's version of Westar Institute.
The Sea of Faith
Kingdom, but has
branches in Australia and New Zealand as well. It is
perhaps the most radical organization listed here, self-
described as post-modernist, religious, humanist,
and philosophically nonrealist. The latter is a type
linguistic philosophy that maintains, among other things,
that many of the most important ideas in religious
discourse (e.g., "God") point to no actual entities.
Church, Columbus, OH
This is a large church with two "campuses" here in the
Metro Columbus area. It has dual affiliation: United Church
of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). My
good friend and crack amateur theologian, Grey Austin,
though not formally a member, teaches classes there frequently.
This church has also played host to such eminent theologians
as Bishop John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, Dominic
Crossan, and . . . me! (Think of the money I save them on
travel and accommodations!)
Christ Community Church,
Spring Lake, MI
I learned about this church--which
affectionately (and now
calls itself "C3"-- from
He and his wife,
Barb, attend there several times a year either while visiting friends
or in order to
hear one of the visiting luminaries in religion, theology, or biblical
studies. The former Senior Minister, Ian
Lawton, is a first rate theologian
and crackerjack preacher, many of whose sermons can
be found on this Website.
Congregational Church of Long Beach
remarkable "open and affirming" (code for welcoming people
irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, race, economic class,
etc.) church in California has Jerry Stinson as its Senior Minister.
Jerry, another Westar Institute Associate, is a remarkable person,
who leads his people in a ministry of social justice and insists on
complete inclusiveness and authenticity with regard to language
in worship. There is a fair number of his sermons and other
writings on this Website.
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