As America becomes increasingly diverse, we face the reality that the traditional church dogmas and creeds, simple answers and required beliefs, are no longer satisfying to a growing number of people who yearn for a more open and honest spiritual expression. Many who have grown up in church have turned their backs on organized religion only to discover that they left something important and meaningful behind.
Lake Progressive Christians emerged to help fill a need that many spiritually minded folks have for a community in which to explore the questions and ideas in our minds and hearts within an open setting which respects and encourages each individual's unique journey of faith.
The idea of Lake Progressive Christians first came to Davidson resident Dan Carrigan in summer 2009. With the outspoken retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong scheduled to speak at the “Jesus in the 21st Century” seminar at Myers Park Baptist Church at that time, he scheduled a four week discussion series at Ada Jenkins Community Center in Davidson on Spong's book “Jesus for the Non-Religious.” The response was enthusiastic with a diverse group of attendees ranging from those who had turned away from the church long ago, to “pew sitters” seeking more, and even several local pastors. It was clear there was a yearning to engage on matters spiritual and Christian in an open and nonjudgmental setting.
Over the past few years Dan has continued leading open and engaging conversations (centered on books such as Harvey Cox's “The Future of Faith” and Elaine Pagels' “Beyond Belief – the secret Gospel of Thomas”) with those who still feel a strong connection to the transformative essence of the Jesus tradition.
The goal is to gain new insight- starting with scholarly research about early church history and always leading toward a re-imagining of a Jesus tradition in the 21st century. The most recent discussion series on the works of Father Thomas Berry was “Honest to God … a priest calls for a radical embrace of creation-based spirituality”
Though he had lived comfortably at the lake for several years since his retirement, Dan decided in 2010 to make Davidson his new hometown. He purchased a former Habitat for Humanity house and converted it into Tapestry Center of Davidson, a community meeting place which is now home of Lake Progressive Christians. Dan’s interest in earth reverent spirituality led him to rejuvenate several historic walking paths connecting the residents of Davidson's west side with the downtown area. The ongoing goals of Tapestry Center are to engage in interracial dialogue, to pursue social justice concerns and to focus on environmental issues.
Lake Progressive Christians is excited to be coming full circle later this month when Bishop John Shelby Spong will be speaking at Davidson College on the topic “Can Christianity Survive Christian Prejudice?” The event takes place on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Davidson College Student Union.
Lake Progressive Christians is one of several cosponsors – including the Vann Ethics Center and the Gay Straight Alliance at Davidson College.
Lake Progressive Christians welcomes the opportunity to provide discussion leaders to facilitate groups at your church. For more information about Lake Progressive Christians you may email: firstname.lastname@example.org or just call Dan at 704-604-4796. See also http://lakeprogressivechristians.wordpress.com/
BISHOP SPONG AT DAVIDSON
MONDAY, OCT. 29, 7:30pm, Davidson College Alvarez College Union, 900 Room – Bishop John Shelby Spong lectures on “Can Christianity Survive the Prejudice of Christians?” Spong is a former Episcopal Bishop and author of several books including The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Discover the God of Love. See johnshelbyspong.com. Free.
LISTEN TO BISHOP SPONG ON WFAE
Charlotte native and former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark Bishop John Spong has spent a lifetime studying the Bible, and has for many years has been a source of controversy in religious circles for his views on Bible interpretation and what should and should not apply to today’s world. He visits Davidson College to speak about Prejudice and Christianity this week and while he’s in the area, he joins us on “Charlotte Talks.”
LINK: WFAE.org, “Bishop John Shelby Spong on “Charlotte Talks.”