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The Emergence of a Progressive, Compassionate Christianity with Eric Elnes

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Program Description

Many Christians at the grassroots believe Christianity should be more inclusive and compassionate than traditional labels would suggest. Reverand Eric Elnes led a group of progressive Christians across the country, walking 2500 miles from Phoenix, Arizona to Washington, D.C. During this walk they discovered a new form of Christian faith is emerging at the grassroots, one that transcends labels and stereotypes, and renews the path of Jesus in today’s world. Elnes says, “There is a whole paradigm shift right now in the Christian faith. It is more intellectually honest and more honestly compassionate. America is already living several clicks ahead into a more hope-filled faith. There are many creative people who are open and joy-filled with their faith, who are not condemning people of other faiths, and who are not worried about people burning in Hell if they don’t believe the way some vindictive God believes. They are actually embracing a God of love and holding together this love of God, neighbor and self.” The inspiring and provocative story of this walk serves as the focus for this conversation.

Eric Elnes is the senior pastor of Countryside Community Church (UCC) in Omaha, Nebraska and co-founder of Crosswalk America. Both organizations are committed to living and strengthening progressive, inclusive Christian faith. He also serves as Director of the Ocotillo Center for Spirituality, The Arts and Christian Worship. Eric Elnes is the author of The Phoenix Affirmations and Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith Along the Highways of America (Jossey-Bass, 2007). To learn more about the work of Dr. Eric Elnes go to www.countrysideucc.org

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

  • How Christians can continue along the path of Jesus and affirm more liberal, progressive views
  • Why was it important for the group to publicly state the principles they felt represented their view of Christianity by creating the Phoenix Affirmations
  • What are the three great loves included in the Phoenix Affirmations
  • What happens when the walkers meet with ultra conservative churches on their journey
  • How did the 2,500 mile walk change the lives of the pastor and his group

Program Number: 3242               Host: Michael Toms               Interview Date: 2/21/2008

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