I can imagine the following text exchange between a parent and a college freshman:
Mom: How are you???
Son:Hi Mom! I’m having a great time at ASU!
Mom: So how are your classes? Are you getting situated ok in your dorm?
Son: Classes are great – I really like my professors. Little worried about calc.
Mom: How’s dorm life? Has your roommate moved in yet?
Son: Yeah — Aashish is a great guy! He’s from India. He’s the first Hindu I’ve ever met — and he’s a better Christian than I am 🙂
One of the main reasons why young people have been leaving the Church in droves is Christian exclusivism. Having been taught that Jesus is the only way, often it’s the college experience that jars their worldview.
A thoughtful encounter with someone of different background has the potential not only to broaden one’s perspective but also to expand one’s faith. It can be a blessing. (I used the name Aashish in my imaginary exchange because it means “blessing.”)
As Progressive Christians we honor other paths to the Sacred even as we affirm our own path through the life and teachings of Jesus. We recognize the wisdom and gifts other traditions can offer us; we have so much to learn from each other. We don’t need to pretend to have all the answers and need not be threatened by other ways of being and believing.
There is an alarming trend in our country. Members of Congress are now publicly heralding Christian Nationalism, claiming we’ve always been a Christian nation, ignoring longstanding religious pluralism, and undermining common respect and civility. This sends chills down my spine. Of course, this concern is further fueled by white Supremacy.
Author and activist Rev. Jen Butler will be at Dayspring Tempe on Oct 2, preaching at both services and offering a 2:00pm lecture on “The Threat of White Christian Nationalism.” Based in Washington D.C., Rev. Butler founded Faith in Public Life, a movement of 50,000 religious leaders for justice. We are offering several opportunities to study her recent book, “Who Stole My Bible? Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny” in advance of her coming. I hope you’ll plan to attend on Oct. 2 and consider participating in one of the following four-week book studies:
- Sundays at 9am at Dayspring Tempe (in-person and Zoom, begins September 4)
- Sundays at 9:45am at Dayspring Arcadia (begins September 4)
- Sundays at 10:30am at Dayspring Tempe (in-person and Zoom, begins September 11)
- Mondays at 5pm via Zoom (begins September 12)
- Thursdays at 10am at Friendship Village (begins September 15)