Progressive Christianity is the Christianity of NOW of today of your life right now. It is not an attempt to reconstruct the way of the “original Church,” nor is it the attempt to reconstruct the “religion of Jesus.” Rather, Progressive Christianity is how we follow the teachings and principles of Jesus and his followers every day. It is not obsessed with the forms of our religion over time. It is concerned with the essence, the principles, the tools of our tradition and how they can be used today, right now, in your everyday life.
The first mission of Progressive Christianity, and the first focus of the Society of Christ, is to learn to see beyond the form into the essence. We aim to see the essence, to embrace it, to experience it, and to develop and maintain an ongoing relationship with it. If we get caught up in the form, in the images of our tradition, we build a wall between us the essence, which is the Truth of our tradition. This is idolatry. Throughout history, we have done this with the Bible, with the Church, with our ideas of GOD, and even with Jesus, our teacher. Rather than understanding that each of these things are tools pointing to a Truth beyond these tools, a Truth beyond concept, a Truth that we can embrace and experience, a Truth that we can have an ongoing, direct relationship with. In mistaking the form for the essence, we have put our faith in ourselves and the ideas of our tradition, rather than putting our faith in the real, incomprehensible, but imminently relatable GOD. This is idolatry.
We must learn to find GOD in all things. First in ourselves and our lives, in those people and things closest to us, in those things we like as well as what we do not like. We must learn to see GOD in our treasure and in our trash. We must learn to find GOD in our allies and in our enemies. This is the essence of the Way of Jesus. This is the great Truth of the Path of Christ, the elimination of our idols, of our misconceptions. This is why we must surrender to GOD, but to GOD beyond our concepts, to GOD beyond our ability to comprehend. If we make the mistake of surrendering to a concept of GOD, we do little more than reinforce the walls that hinder our ability to see and experience reality, Life. It is only after we have surrendered everything that we will begin to see Truth and Life beyond the limitations we have imposed on it. It is only after we have smashed our idols that we will be able to see GOD.
This is what Soceitas Christi is about. We smash our idols through the surrender of our certainty. We learn to accept ourselves and others without condemnation. We learn to use the tools of Jesus, our teacher, and the tradition that has been constructed around him. We learn to let go of our need to impose our view or our will on others. We learn to understand the freedom in Christ as the freedom from our illusions. We learn to embrace salvation as a process of learning to embrace and live our lives in fullness. And we learn to cultivate an ongoing, personal, and ever evolving relationship with GOD beyond the idols of conception.
~ Bishop Mansell C. Gilmore