When we went looking for resources for Christian progressives like us in 2009 we found nothing but a desolate landscape ...
As it turns out there were a few random resources around but they weren't doing a very good job promoting themselves so people like us would know who they were. They were more or less isolated pockets of anonymity with cryptic names.
We decided to 'be the change we wanted to see' in the world. We had been contemplating the problem of lack of resources for some time. Circumstances lined up in a way that allowed us to proceed with the vision that was churning in our minds. We went for it.
We secured the domain name of The Christian Left dot org. Turns out it was available so we snapped it up. A recent phenomena made it easy to put the word out, social media.
Since then much has changed but there's a long way to go. Over 12 years we've built a community of Christian progressives and their allies where people of like mind can gather and discuss daily events in peace, free from any kind of harassment. They can do so regardless of where they live. That's big.
Another facet of our work is to take action. We have done so throughout the years at hotspots around the country.
In the modern world it's impossible to maintain a mission and an effort like The Christian Left without funding. We are not backed by any churches, corporations, charities, or wealthy individuals.
We are 100% user funded.
That's why we\re asking for your participation today. Will you join this effort and be a part of the change you want to see in the world? Please do. Make a contribution today and sign up to make it monthly if you can. Let's keep this going. There are tens of thousands of people who rely on this ministry as their lifeline. They tell us so.
Here's how to make a secure contribution:
-- The Christian Left
Some of the members of The Christian Left admin team had a chance to see Bruce Cockburn in Portland, Oregon before Christmas.
You have to listen to THIS song. You'll see why. You have to listen to it right now.
(Please don't give away the surprise in social media comments.)
The Christian right reveres a harsh individualism that runs directly contrary to the true meaning of Christmas.
By Michael Coren
Republished with author's permission
There’s a compelling story in the New Testament that, unusually, is included in three of the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell of a rich young man who wants to follow Jesus. The eager fellow explains that he obeys the commandments and is genuinely good. What else, he asks, should he do?
The response is exquisite. ”There is still one thing lacking”, says Jesus. ”Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young millionaire hears this “he became sad; for he was very rich”. Jesus looks at the man, with a stare we can only imagine, and explains, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Then the timeless, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
So, as we approach Christmas, what are the genuine values of the Gospels, and what should we learn from the commemoration of the birth of a baby to a teenage Jewish refugee 2000 years ago? I’m not going to indulge in apologetics here, and whether you believe or not is entirely your concern. Faith is a dialogue and anybody who claims to have every answer should probably be ignored. What I want to emphasize is the socialistic nature of Jesus, who owned no property, lived communally, chose as friends the marginalized and rejected, warned of the dangers of wealth and power, and scolded those who judged others or stood behind smugness and legalism.
He was born in an age where cruelty and confusion abounded, but born, Christians believe, the Son of God, to bathe the world in shades of grace and hope. This is the Jesus who insisted it was humility rather than pride, and peace rather than war that would change the world. This is the permanent revolution of love that inspired Keir Hardie, George Lansbury, and so many in the Labor movement. William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury during the Second World War, went so far as to say that “socialism is the economic realization of the Christian gospel”.
I recently wrote a book called The Rebel Christ, and judging by the attacks on me by the Christian right I touched a nerve, or even the entire central nervous system. There’s none so angry as a fundamentalist scorned. I wrote that the Christian right reveres a harsh individualism that runs directly contrary to the melodies of the Christian song. Jesus repeatedly told of the absolute need for community and fraternity, as did St Paul and others in the New Testament who wrote letters of instruction to the early church.
Yet since the 1960s, beginning in the US but spreading internationally, the right has edited and twisted the faith to justify its polemics. Conservative Christians have always existed, of course, but the intense organization, activism and electoral success is a new phenomenon. They obsess about abortion and homosexuality, when Jesus speaks of neither subject. Simultaneously they promote policies that directly hurt the poor and empower the military, when the Gospels are soaked in calls for peace and economic justice. Beyond the Protestant right – and 81 per cent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016 – the traditionalist wing of the Roman Catholic Church is frequently venomous on these issues, in direct reaction to the sometimes surprisingly progressive Pope Francis.
Quoting scripture has inherent challenges because it demands context but take a typical example from Matthew 25. Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” He was speaking not of himself but of all who need, all who go without. This is much more than charity, this is systemic change.
It’s extraordinarily difficult to understand how anybody could interpret the statements of Christ as anything other than politically and economically liberating; it’s why he was eventually executed, when the conservative religious leaders around him were ignored. They simply weren’t a threat to the status quo.
As for the argument that the socialist vision of Christianity is modern or “fashionable”, the Didache dates from the first century and is one of the most important documents in early church history. It tells Christians to “share all your possessions with your brother, and do not claim that anything is your own.” The Church Fathers and Mothers writing in the third and fourth centuries say similar things.
Even when Jesus performs the miracle of feeding a multitude with a limited amount of bread and fish, what we’re seeing is either a breathtaking example of mass sharing, or a literal miracle where hungry people are fed. Either way, it’s about fellowship, a joint effort, a coming-together of people who are hungry. Indeed, the New Testament is peppered with examples of the needy being fed and provided for. Luke’s Gospel: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Genuine faith is sandpaper of the soul, it hurts, it stings, but in the final analysis it should lead to a more perfect believer. It drags those who claim to follow Yeshua out of our comfort zones, calling for a great reset of the world as it was designed to be. There’s no war on Christmas but there is a war on Christmas virtues, often led by those most triggered by an absence of greetings cards without religious scenes, or a local authority removing a Christmas tree.
On 25 December it all changes. The baby who becomes a man is the living model of equality and empathy, leaving us a new template of life and conduct. Treat others as you want to be treated, understand and forgive, never ignore oppression, transform the very structures that create and maintain exploitation, and turn over those tables in the temple. Blessed are the radical for they understand Christmas. Have a good one.
Added Bonus! Check out the brilliance of John Fugelsang as he does a set for an event The Christian Left recently helped promote. This man gets it and he's hilarious!
Please remember us in your seasonal and year-end giving. We were the first US Christian ministry to fully embrace social media in 2009. We’re a haven for many. Your seasonal contribution helps! Here’s the link: https://donorbox.org/friends-of-tcl-21
God Bless You and Happy Holidays!
-- The Christian Left
We got a chance to hang out with Frank Schaeffer in October in New York. The event was filmed and we'd like to share it with you. Frank was an early pioneer in the progressive Christian movement. We call him our 'historian.' He always has good stuff to say.
We remember when we were first exposed to Frank's material. We felt like we were reading the words of a kindred spirit. We no longer felt so alone in the world. Soon after we launched The Christian Left we met him in person and the 2nd Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hills, NC. He's been a friend of the ministry ever since and we always enjoy his wisdom and advice.
Frank has a new book out called, "Fall in Love, Have Children, Stay Put, Save the Planet, Be Happy." Every single one of Frank's books are filled with knowledge and information that soothes the soul of Christian progressives and their allies.
Frank discusses the book in this video and shares other stories about his life. We were in the front row on this beautiful evening in New York City and it was a big thrill to listen to him live. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Special thanks to Samir Selmanovic and Tim Gilman at Common Good Coalition for hosting the event, inviting us and allowing us to be an action partner in their mission. Special thanks to Rod and Ally Colburn for providing the wonderful venue 'on the rooftop' in the heart of New York, New York.
You can purchase your own copy of Frank's book on Amazon using this link:
We give the book our highest recommendation!
Please Visit The Following Websites For More:
• The Christian Left:
(New Website Coming Soon)
• The Christian Left Facebook Page:
(Where All The Action Happens Daily)
• Common Good Coalition:
• The Official Website of Frank Schaeffer
Please remember The Christian Left this giving season of 2021 and in your year-end giving. The nation is facing some serious issues as we move forward in 2022 and beyond. The need for a ministry that serves Christian progressives and their allies is more important than ever.
We're not funded by any church or organization. We're user funded and we operate with a very small staff on a shoestring budget. The last two years have been particularly difficult as they have been for many small businesses and organizations. Please do what you can today and sign up for a monthly contribution if you're able.
Here's the link to make a contribution:
God Bless You and Thanks So Much For Supporting Our Mission!
-- The Christian Left
Please remember The Christian Left (TCL)
this ‘Giving Tuesday,’ Nov. 30.
Click or tap here to make a contribution.
Here's the URL if the above link doesn't work (directly below).
The Christian Left
The Christian Left Action Team was invited to an event in New York in early October of 2021 called, "The Edge of the Rooftop / New York City." While we were there we had the wonderful opportunity to meet Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis! She was inspiring to say the least. Fortunately, the presentations she gave were filmed! We have them for you right now! How cool is that? You get to see what we saw, just as if you were right there with us! When you consider the things Jacqui had to say in New York and in her new book, it’s not a stretch to say that you were right there with us.
Jacqui’s new book, "Fierce Love," is good stuff, really good stuff. It’s what the world needs to hear right now.
Here’s what an Amazon introduction to the book has to say:
"We are living in a world divided. Race and ethnicity, caste and color, gender and sexuality, class and education, religion and political party have all become demographic labels that reduce our differences to simplistic categories in which 'we' are vehemently against 'them.' But Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis’s own experience—of being the first female and first Black minister in her church’s history, of being in an interracial marriage, and of making peace with childhood abuse—illustrates that our human capacity for empathy and forgiveness is the key to reversing these ugly trends.
Inspired by the tenets of ubuntu—the Zulu philosophy that we are each impacted by the circumstances that impact those around us, and that the world won’t get better until we all get better—Fierce Love lays out the nine daily practices for breaking through tribalism and engineering the change we seek. From downsizing our emotional baggage to speaking truth to power to fueling our activism with joy, it demonstrates the power of small, morally courageous steps to heal our own lives, our posse, and our larger communities.
Sharing stories that trace her personal reckoning with racism as well as the arc of her journey to an inclusive and service-driven faith, Dr. Lewis shows that kindness, compassion, and inclusive thinking are muscles that can be exercised and strengthened. With the goal of mending our inextricable human connection, Fierce Love is a manifesto for all generations: a bighearted, healing antidote to our rancorous culture."
So, here she is with more on the subject, just as we saw and heard ourselves when we were in the audience.
Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, "Fierce Love," New York, October 2021, Friday Evening, Part 1 of 3
Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, “Fierce Love," New York, October 2021, Saturday Morning, Part 2 of 3
Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, “Fierce Love," New York, October 2021, Saturday Evening, Part 3 of 3
A word about our hosts:
From The Common Good Coalition Website:
"Common Good Coalition is a network of creative, motivated, and courageous professionals. We are artists, business people, and religious leaders who are committed to the common good. We can no longer wait to shift the conversation.
We gather and partner to share our stories, articulate our values, and bring a compassionate and healing perspective to today’s complex issues. Our goal is to help others--and ourselves--to modify perceptions and perspectives and inspire change."
The Christian Left is an action partner with Common Good Coalition. We believe cooperation among progressive Christian organizations and all others who care about the cause is of paramount importance at this time in history.
Please Visit The Following Websites For More:
• Jacqui Lewis Website
• The Christian Left: https://www.thechristianleft.org/
(New Website Coming Soon)
• The Christian Left Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheChristianLeft
(Where All The Action Happens Daily)
• Common Good Coalition: https://www.cgcoalition.com/
The last two years have been rough on everyone. So many things have happened. Untold thousands of businesses and organizations have been forced to close their doors. We’re a small group so we devote most of our time to serving the TCL community and taking action on behalf of the ‘least of these.’ We haven’t devoted much time to fundraising. The Christian Left is still hanging on by the skin of its teeth but we need your participation to recover.
We’re been active every day for 12 years. We’re an online ministry and community for like-minded Christians and their allies. Many of you have been with us for a long time. You know who we are and what we do.
We post a sermon from our own Rev. Mark Sandlin every Sunday (unless he’s on vacation). We start each day with a carefully selected scripture, and we post at least one essay on Theology each day. Every day we post up-to-the-minute news from respected sources for discussion. Throughout the year we take action around the nation on behalf of the least of these.
2021 was a slow summer and the last two years have been filled with circumstances we’ve all lived through together. We need your help keep the ministry alive. We survive on a shoestring budget with a bare-bones staff. We always have.
This is our passion. It never gets old for us. Moving on to something else after 12 years would be heartbreaking to many including us. All ministries have to fundraise one way or another.
Please make a contribution today. Sign up to make it monthly if you can. Any amount helps. For the rest of the year, if you sign up for a monthly contribution of $75 or more, we’ll add you to a list of “Cornerstone Members.” Throughout the year we will contact you by email with surveys on where you’d like to see The Christian Left go as a ministry.
Cornerstone membership is just now in the planning stages so there will be more details to come as we move forward. If you already donate $75 or more per month you will be added to the list automatically. If $75 per month is too much for your budget, not to worry. We will send out at least one big survey to all donors as well.
Based on the input we receive every day we know this ministry is needed and valued. Please do what you can during these lean times for The Christian Left.
Here's How (Click or Tap here)
Web address if link doesn't work: https://donorbox.org/friends-of-tcl-21
God bless you and thank-you,
-- The Christian Left
Frank Schaeffer's new book comes out November 2nd.
It's been called, "An essential read."
Frank Schaeffer is a friend of The Christian Left. He's an early pioneer in the progressive Christian movement. His memoir 'Crazy for God' is used as a textbook in the history of religion classes and courses in comparative religion and sociology in public and private universities. We call him our historian. He can easily be classified as one of the 'grandfathers' of progressive Christianity.
Every single one of his books is recommended reading. His new book coming out on November 2nd is no exception. "Fall in Love, Have Children, Stay Put, Save the Planet, Be Happy," will captivate you. As one editorial review put it, "Frank makes the bold argument that we should focus on living meaningful lives rather than making money and seeking validation from our jobs. Schaeffer’s argument takes him down paths that will surprise, delight, and even shock readers. This is an essential read."
Even before everything was disrupted by COVID-19 (not to mention by Trump), millions of Americans were already questioning capitalism’s “values.” We were already challenging the idea that your job defines you. We already knew something was wrong. Loneliness, frustration, and alienation were already on the rise. Even the most successful of us felt too busy, too preoccupied, and too distracted to enjoy what we intuitively know are life’s greatest rewards: vibrant relationships, family life, connection to others, involvement in our community, and the thrilling experience of love.
Fall in Love . . . builds a well-researched and entertaining bridge to living happier lives and to a better future. It shows us that based on a better understanding of our evolutionary selves, we can thrive in family life and in our work life, too. But to do both joyfully—and at the same time—depends on rediscovering the priority of relationships, connections, community, and love.
Pre-order Frank's book today. Let's help him with a successful launch in November and send his book up the charts. It's worthy of being a best seller. It's that good.
-- The Christian Left
From "The Paradoxical Commandments," by Kent M. Keith
"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway."
"The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent M. Keith when he was 19, a sophomore at Harvard College. He wrote them as part of a book for student leaders entitled The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, published by Harvard Student Agencies in 1968. The Paradoxical Commandments subsequently spread all over the world, and have been used by millions of people.
Mother Teresa put the Paradoxical Commandments up on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta. The fact that the commandments were on her wall was reported in a book compiled by Lucinda Vardey, Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, which was published in 1995. As a result, some people have attributed the Paradoxical Commandments to Mother Teresa."
A similar sentiment:
One from scripture:
Last but not least:
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.