A New Mainline

Mainline Protestantism has transitioned from American's dominant form of Christianity to a mere 18% of the adult population.  Many forecast continued decline. Recognizing the issue with the name, Cathy Lynn Grossman is inviting you to take a poll to propose a new name for the mainline, which includes a "dozen church groups  . . . including United Methodists, Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterians (USA) and American Baptists)."  The options she offers are Old Line Liberal Read More …

Review of On God’s Side

Meet the Author Jim Wallis is president and CEO of Sojourners where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine.  He has written ten books including two New York Times bestsellers: The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post–Religious Right America (2008) and God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (2006).  Wallis regularly teaches a course on “Faith, Social Justice, and Public Life” at Georgetown University.  Additionally, he Read More …

Can Christianity Be Saved?

As I read Ross Douthat's latest  New York Times editorial, "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?," I knew I had to respond.  In short, he suggests that the end could well be near for progressive or liberal Christianity unless something changes rather significantly as a result of decades of decline.  While not proposing that other forms of Christianity have all fared well, he suggests that they have by way of comparison to progressive denominations. (For more on Douthat's perspective, read my Read More …

Progressive – The Best Word?

The Pew Research Center for People & the Press released the results of their recent poll of American's views of political terms.  The term with the most favorable view is progressive.  Interestingly, it rates about 33% higher than the term liberal. So What? Many people characterize mainline churches as theologically liberal.  Do you think congregations and denominations should move beyond that label and claim the more culturally valued term progressive to describe themselves? Why or why Read More …

Liberal Protestant Decline – Fact Check

Yesterday, I wrote a review of Mark Chaves' new book American Religion: Contemporary Trends (2011).  In that post, I included  a quote that offers a basic overview of something most people take for granted: the decline of liberal Protestant churches over the last several decades.  As a result of this shift, there were twice as many Americans who "claimed affiliation with conservative denominations as with theologically more liberal ones" (p. 87). Chaves goes on to debunk the commonly held Read More …

Most Americans Now Favor Legal Gay Marriage

According to Gallup's latest Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 5-8,  a majority of Americans (53%) now support equal marriage rights for same sex couples as for opposite sex couples.  This graph below shows how opinions have changed over time, with the single greatest percentage gain in marriage equality coming over the last year (9%). So What? For the first time ever, according to Gallup's poll, the majority of Americans now support marriage equality.  When one considers how Read More …

What is Progressive Christianity?

Progressive Christianity is a relatively new term that might not exist today without the work of ProgressiveChristainity.org.  In 1994 when the Rev. Jim Adams (shown at right), then the rector of St. Mark's Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., founded the organization as The Center for Progressive Christianity there "was no known organization, scholar, or church leader publicly using the term, 'progressive Christianity.'" Within eight years, the term was regularly used "by scholars, the Read More …