I always get asked, “why do you call yourself the ‘unfit’ Christian?” It isn’t that I’m not fit to be a Christian, I just don’t fit the mold of the traditional church. I’ve never quite fit with the conservative evangelical church and the older I get, I find myself fitting less with traditional Black congregations too. I suppose that makes me a progressive Christian!
Now, don’t get me wrong, ain’t nothin’ like some good ol’ church for me. Give me a good raised hymn, some hand-clappin’ and foot-stompin’ and I can have me a good ol’ time. But if you get to that word and it’s filled with sexism, patriarchy, and homophobia? I throw the deuces up quicker than Suge Orange can sign an obnoxious Executive Order.
Judging by the thousands of pageviews that I get per month, I’m not alone in these feelings. While I love to write and curate content for TUC as a progressive faith leader [wow, I can’t believe I referred to myself as a faith leader — EEK!], I am not alone in this work. Below is a collection of 16 pieces that will best initiate any believer into a more progressive faith.
One of the first things you’ll have to work through as a progressive Christian is the internalized patriarchy and misogyny that comes with traditional teachings. A lot of this teaching is subtle and will be hard to recognize as a learned ideology at first. But, with the help of the pieces I’ve selected below, you’ll not only see the sexism in your faith differently, you’ll also learn how to reconcile your faith with more feminist ideals—even if you’re not a woman!
- When Proverbs 31 Becomes Misogynoir 101 via The Churched Feminist
- 5 Ways the Bible Supports Feminism via Relevant Magazine
- My Feminism is bell hooks & Beyonce via Mamademics
- At the Intersection of Womanist & Christian via The Unfit Christian
Sexuality & Gender
Sex, Sexuality, & Gender remains a hugely touchy, taboo even, subject in the church. One of my greatest challenges in the progression of my personal theology is figuring out how my sexuality fits with the sacredness of my faith. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to increase your acceptance and affirmation of LGBTQIA-identities or if you’re hoping to own your personal sexuality, I’ve gotcha covered with the selections below:
- A Church Girl Confession: How Embracing My Own Sexuality Made Me an Ally via Candice Benbow
- Queer + Christian “Oh Leviticus” [Video] via Parity
- Queer Flesh & Worship Respectability via Tony McNeill
- 10 anti-LGBT Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus via Believe Out Loud
- Celibacy Ruined My Dating Life via The Unfit Christian
As long as Sunday Morning Worship remains the most segregated hour in the country, race will always be a needed conversation in the church. The Progressive Christian must be conscious and cognizant of how our faith has impacted and been impacted by racism. It is not only a key to a richer faith, but also to reclaiming those who no longer see themselves in God. Just as in politics, society, and interpersonal relationships, race absolutely determines the way we do church. The selections below will challenge you to rethink racism and the cross:
- I Was Ostracized for Discussing Racial Injustice in My Church via SheKnows
- How Black is the Bible? via The Front Porch
- Mark Charles on Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery via Think Christian
- When White Supremacy is Bigger than God via The Unfit Christian
Mental Health & Illness
Mental Health & Illness Awareness is perhaps one of the greatest failures of the church. When we’re not trying to pray it away as a demonic entity, we’re condemning those who seek medical attention to aid in their mental health journey. The selections below will provide better understanding of the relationship between the church and mental illness:
- If I’m Suicidal, Please Don’t Tell Me to Pray via The Unfit Christian
- Christians Need to End the Stigma Around Mental Illness & Seasonal Depression via Relevant Magazine
- 4 Misconceptions about Mental Illness & Faith via Relevant Magazine