Progressive Churches: Rational or Radical? [1of4]

A few days ago, wicked smart guy Nate Silver on 538 (a statistics and polling site for the 2008 election) has wandered into philosophy as he distinguishes between two different forms of progressivism: rational progressives who favor incremental change through reform, and radical progressives who favor the swifter change of revolution.  Check it out:

While I take issue with some of the dichotomies and stereotypes in general, this serves as a helpful building block for discussion.  Of course Silver is talking about progressive philosophies primarily in politics, but I can see parallels in churches too.

So, time for a mini-series!  I will be talking about it for the rest of this week, so whether you want to better see which type of progressive you are, or are looking to not categorize your progressive friends into one big pot…check back this week!

But in the meantime, initial thoughts on this chart?  What sticks, and what stinks?  Post in the comments or on Google Friend Connect at the bottom of the page!

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  1. Warren says

    Nate seems spot on (as usual!). I self-identify as a radical progressive, and I would say everything in “my” column is 100% accurate.

  2. Stephen Lingwood says

    Very useful analysis. It points to a tension I’m very aware of, in a clearly rationally progressive denomination and sometimes feeling like a radical progressive. It’s also a tension I feel with myself, I have both rational (Unitarian)and radical (Anabaptist) instincts.

  3. Angie Van De Merwe says

    I really like the chart, as it does organize some things for us…

    As to the whole discussion, the sacred/secular distinction is dissolving, I think, as people become more and more educated and exposed to other cultures, and news bits from many perspectives. These diverse viewpoints do help to hone our understanding and thinking and help the individual to come to his own convictions, without “formal orgaizational” structuring, in education or opionion formation. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    The reformed way seeks to affirm tradition’s understanding of the past, while the radical seeks to destroy and then build anew. All movemnet, whether political religious or social could be understood within these two distinctives.

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