As an educational nonprofit, we promote idea generation and collaboration among scholars, teachers, students, and activists. We seek the emergence of diverse applications of alternative, progressive Christian theologies that can plainly, yet effectively speak to the post-modern, post-Christian culture.
As an online resource, we publish articles and encourage the networking of scholars, writers, activists, leaders, and innovators. Our institutional roots are in the Quaker tradition, but we sincerely welcome input, essays, and insights from those of every and no denomination.
Quakers have long valued plainspokeness – a manner of simple, clear, honest expression. A plain spoken theology is one rooted in reason, historical research, realism, and diverse Christian experience. It is a manner of doing theology that seeks to offer reasoned evidence for its claims, that moves beyond theologies of identity, academic jargon, and ideology, so that we can speak meaningfully about Jesus and his teachings to a post-modern, post-Christian culture.
1. Find ways of speaking to the mainstream culture about the teachings of Jesus that are reasonable and acceptable to the contemporary, educated, postmodern mindset. This will require a revisioning of Christian theology through the lens of evidential reasoning – the best of human knowledge – science, social science, historical scholarship, anthropology, cultural studies, neuroscience, and psychology.
2. A vigorous proclamation and defense of human dignity that opposes the dehumanizing forces of today’s forms of empire, racism, sexism, patriarchy, secularism, consumerism, and nihilism.
3. Continued refinement of our understanding of Jesus of Nazareth – what he taught, how Christianity emerged, and the content and nature of our sacred texts – applying insights from Historical Jesus scholarship, cutting-edge biblical studies, hermeneutics, and reliable cultural and textual scholarship.
4. Moving beyond Iron-age understandings of original sin, blood sacrifice, substitutionary atonement, religious violence, gender, sexuality, and so on, that mire Christianity in outdated modes of thinking.
5. Making Jesus’ rejection of legalism, moralism, ceremonialism, and literalism – all of which tempt us to build walls, control others, and establish abusive power structures –central to our understanding of Christian practice and communal organization.
6. Offer our insights and values in a way that is humble and inviting – not triumphant, controlling, judgmental, or arrogant – while always being open to dialog, challenge, and disagreement, welcoming valid diversity of approaches.
7. A deemphasis on institutional structures, denominational identity, clericalism, and American-style, 20th Century “Church”, instead favoring personal empowerment, organic community, sacramental living, and local transformation.