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Progressive Christianity Part 2 of 8

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. …

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Just recently Quanta magazine offered a really interesting interview with physicist Christopher Fuchs, Senior Researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. Dr. Fuchs is the primary proponent of a theory called, very simply, Quantum Baysianism, or QBism for short. QBism admits to an understanding of our universe that is essentially subjective. The laws of physics are not immutable, they are subjective. The article suggests at one point, “then again, maybe that’s what quantum mechanics has been trying to tell us all along — that a single objective reality is an illusion.”

To a certain extent the “laws” of Progressive Christianity describe the universe of religious belief in a similar manner. The second point suggests this when it states we, affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey. I find there to be an immense freedom in such an admission. It is not necessary that we tow a party line, or defend a narrow and patently divisive worldview against all comers. Christianity is free to be a world religion without having to be the world religion, and that is a marvelous thing.

There is so much worthwhile, aggregate wisdom and spiritual insight in the world, and the greater share of it derives necessarily from other cultures, other narratives, other traditions. The more one is encouraged to investigate the great traditions of the world the more one is affirmed in our similarities, and stimulated by our differences. We are all pursuing some degree of meaning in our common humanity, some level of insight, some moment of profound connection with the ineffable. We chase an essentially human ideal, and we have developed a wide collection of practices, rituals, and perspectives to help us do so.

So much of what I experience as divine has come through the aegis of disciplines that fall well outside my strictly Christian framework. I am grateful for insights from philosophers and physicists, as well as those from any number of other religious traditions. I am also struck by the often overwhelming similarities of our various traditions. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and many others, that seem so absurdly different when we compare normative and pedestrian religious practices, begin to lose their distinctive hues as we move toward deep, spiritual, even mystical, understanding and practice.

We miss too much of what is essential to divine relationship when we waste time fighting over who has the only authorized version of religious tradition. To simply and clearly admit that the Christian narrative, however subjectively favored, is just one of the many paths to spiritual wholeness, is to do no more than welcome the truth.
“As we grow in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love, and then the barriers between people, between religions, between nations will begin to fall. Yes, we have to beat down the separateness.”
Ram Dass
“All religions are designed to teach us how to live, joyfully, serenely, and kindly, in the midst of suffering.”
Karen Armstrong