Post-Linearity: While the Label "Progressive" is Charged with Past Meaning, It's Full of Possibility


At least one of my blog labels/themes has the term "progressive" in it. To use the adjective "progressive" is often seen as problematic because it appears to label those who don't share your viewpoint as regressive. In this sense it seems to be a schismatic word. However this interpretation understands the word in a linear sense and therefore assumes that progression is about heading to a higher or further place. I have transcribed some words from another blog which I felt summed up my own alternative understanding of the word progressive. In these words the author uses the term "nonlinear" to describe the world. I'd instead invent the term post-linear because in this diffferent understanding of the world we are exploring, we are not trying to create (rather paradoxically) a "linear" choice between "linear" and "nonlinear." We are exploring another possibility for what progress looks like - as the blog says a possibilty of space-making and kinetic community-building.

The label “progressive” is a charged word nowadays. It is either one group’s property, or another group’s hissing epithet. It is a word that is overladen with assumptions that limit a more robust understanding of what it means to embody progress.

.....Progress relates to movement. Typically we assume that progress means movement forward and upward. However, in today’s nonlinear world, moving forward and upward is not an automatic good. Our cultural obsession with moving forward and upward was a key factor in the recent economic crisis. Jesus confronted the same dynamic in his followers.

....Progress, in Jesus‘ mind, was not about moving up or forward, but about moving in a direction that made friendship and community possible and sustainable.

....Progressive action in the gospel is determined and measured by relationships made, healed, and sustained.

....... Consequently, the measure of our progressiveness will be found in the nature of belonging within our churches and communities.

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