Progressive Orthodox Christianity

"Grant also, O God, progress in life and faith and spiritual understanding to the faithful who pray with us ..." (Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom).

The Good News that Orthodox Christianity proclaims from age to age is liberating. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18).

The Gospel transcends the framework of ordinary theological, moral, political, social, and economic discourse and debate. It is radical in its promises, gifts, requirements, and effects; it is conservative in that the message that changes all things, itself remains unchanged, even as "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." We uphold and confess the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Orthodox Church, knowing that they are truth, and that the truth makes one free (John 8:32).

Having the Mind of Christ, Who is the Word and Wisdom of God (1 Cor 2:16), the Church has addressed many serious issues facing the world today. Each of us, as Orthodox Christians, must do likewise as the Spirit moves us, for this is an important aspect of our Christian witness. For Christ's message to truly be a Sign for the world, it must be both preached and practiced; we must speak in the terms and categories of human discourse, yet in words "seasoned with salt" and with the grace of the All-Holy Spirit. The candle must be put on a lampstand and not under a bushel; and when the salt loses its savor, it is fit for nothing except to be trodden underfoot.

Since our Lord commanded us, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," we feel that for Christians living in a democracy or in a democratic republic, participation in the processes that shape and influence government and its policies is not an option, but a God-given obligation -- one, moreover, that must be fulfilled in a manner consistent with the second part of the that command, so as to influence government towards godliness and the fulfillment of all that God has commanded and taught.

While the Mind of Christ fits into no one political box, we tend to see the more progressive viewpoints as better attuned to the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the will of God on many, though not all, issues. The root of many of the ills facing mankind is human sin, for which the antidote is repentance. Yet much good can be achieved as well through secular laws and by the actions and work of government and other secular institutions and agencies. The lives of the holy, Orthodox Christian kings and queens record that they performed charitable works -- aiding the poor, the hungry, and the needy; and building churches, schools, and hospitals -- using, to finance this work, money that was in part tax-derived. So too, we who live in nations with democratic political systems where we influence government policy, urge that similar policies be followed, so that government resources will be utilitized to promote the general welfare of the populace, and of the world in which they live.

We are not an organization or an organized society, but a group of Facebook participants who share a viewpoint. We seek, through sharing opinions, to advance our common goal of securing -- by prayer and work, in word and deed -- the material, physical, moral, and spiritual well-being of humanity, as the necessary condition for furthering our salvation and that of mankind.

Principal aims and purposes of this group: (1) By affirming that we favor the adoption, by society and government, of appropriate progressive policies that will have the effect of helping to achieve goals pleasing to God -- namely, care for the afflicted, the weak, the defenseless, the needy, the less fortunate members of society; good stewardship of the gifts we have received on earth; pursuit of unity, peace, and good will among men; and other good actions and ends that are in harmony with the Divine Will as expressed in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments -- we seek to further the actual fulfillment of that for which we pray daily in the Lord's Prayer: "your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (2) Our Lord commanded us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Therefore, we feel it is essential that we show the world that Orthodox Christians are concerned about fulfilling the commandments and ethical teachings of the holy gospel. In this way, the poor and the afflicted, to whom the Lord is especially near (Psalm 33/34:18), as well as like-minded persons who are concerned about helping them, may be drawn to Christ and his holy Church and find their home there; and this, in turn, will help to fulfill St. Paul's vision of Church growth, in which "the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."