I think something interesting is happening among the progressive evangelicals (ugh, I don’t like that term) out west.
(I think I’m going to start referring to everyone who’s still arguably evangelical but just a skosh to my left as “the radical center.”)
(“Skosh“: I saw an online dictionary that etymologized “skosh” as coming from a Japanese word, but I know darn well it’s a Texas thing.)
I’m speaking of the LA nexus of Rob Bell and The Liturgists (Mike McHargue, aka “Science Mike”, and Michael Gungor.)
(A few weeks ago, I heard a megachurch preacher introduce Science Mike, and repeatedly refer to him as “Mike the Science Guy,” which transported me back to Bill Nye.)
What I’ve read and heard from these guys mines rich veins of Christian mysticism, sharing much with Richard Rohr (also out west, in Albuquerque).
Bell is a fabulous preacher; seriously. He’s not good, he’s VERY good. A couple of weeks ago, he podcasted a series of five sermons on Lamentations that were rich and biblical and incredibly therapeutic on an emotional level.
Don’t make the mistake of judging Bell without actually listening to him or reading what he’s written. (Many people I know express a real disdain for Bell, but only a few of them have actually read or listened to him.)
(I’m working on a piece where I describe Bell’s hermeneutics, rationale, and mission, as I understand them.)
Also in the west is Tripp Fuller (Home-brewed Christianity.) I know Fuller is from North Carolina originally, but believe he is located in Los Angeles. I haven’t seen any interactions between him and the Bell cadre.
Fuller is more academic and less accessible (IMHO), less therapeutic (or at least less immediately so), than Bell or The Liturgists. I AM fascinated by the ministry training school he has organized, however: The Hatchery (@Hatchery_LA), which is part MDiv and part graduate program in community development and entrepreneurship.
Who are the other progressive evangelical voices out west?