parishioners what you really feel, think, believe, and disbelieve -- about matters theological, political, and social?
Very many evangelical and fundamentalist preachers no longer believe everything (or even very much) of what they are preaching. And untold numbers of parishioners pretend to assent to preaching that makes little sense to them. This is true also in many "mainline" churches that are more theologically diverse. Pastors and members are afraid to rock the doctrinal boat, for fear that some parishioners - and their pledges - will drop out.
Hence the need for a new, annual tradition for churches of all kinds: Fearless Sunday, the second Sunday of September. The start of the "program year" of many churches is a good time for parishioners to hear preachers boldly share their truths about their theological and social perspectives. It is a time for preachers to "out" themselves on matters of doctrine and practice, share the ways they have evolved spiritually, and to invite their listeners to do the same. Doing so will accelerate the shift from a Christianity focused on belief to a faith focused on spiritual and social practice.
If progressive Christians really care about the suffering that faces evangelical pastors who "come out", then we'll get serious about making room for them in our ranks. This will require eliminating or bending outdated denominational rules regarding ministerial "search and call". In this era of quick online job recruiting, it makes no sense for denominations to place pointless impediments in the way of good churches and good pastors seeking matches.
13 FAQ's for Church-Shoppers
(Progresssive Christian pastors and church leaders ought to be able to answer YES to all questions listed below.)
(Ask other Christian churches and groups the same questions, and see what they say!)