Progressive Christians I’m Reading

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I’m a native California girl who was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended university in Santa Cruz, and made my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. What this means primarily is that my veins look like the highways and byways that connect California’s biggest cities with major arteries like the 5, 101, or 1 and small little farm highways known as “blood alleys” that haven’t exactly aged with grace. As a child, I was a wizard at car reading. Later I lost that superhero ability but to my surprise digital books don’t seem to bring on the nausea. I was delighted to read all of Erin Lane’s Lessons in Belonging From A Church Going Commitment Phobe.

The more progressive Christian books I read, the more I can parse out their culture and cadence. The first author to get me sucked in was Nadia Bolz-Weber who blogs as the “Sarcastic Lutheran.” Erin Lane is a “Holy Hellion.” Both are feisty spirits who have written a kind of Christianity that doesn’t make me run screaming from the room and actually gets me to sit down for a moment and think about things like Grace and God’s Love without leaving a mass-produced and hollow cheap candy saccharine cough syrup taste on your tongue.

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The Christian church is said to be having a masculinity crisis but I would say that’s been happening for a long time now. It has been said that church attendance could be increased if hipster chic manly men could appeal to their fellow bros-in-Christ and bring forward artistinal patriarchy. (I’m talking to you, Mark Driscoll.) But it’s unreal to suggest that Christianity is losing its patriarchal edge, it just has God forsaken hair and terrible patterned wall paper. It’s not Christ that makes Christianity a hard place to be a feminist. When I hit puberty and realized that my Catholic upbringing had a lot to answer for when it came to the way it regarded my anatomy and that anatomy’s role in our collective salvation and I washed my hands of the business. I fled out of a sense of self-protection. The women with the most power in the church always seemed to be the ones who affirmed patriarchy the best and lost touch with what it meant to be a girl coming up under it.

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