On Pentecost Sunday 2007, we had our first Pluralism Sunday at First United. In fact, that was the very first ever Pluralism Sunday. The event was initiated by Rev. Jim Burklo, a pastor in the United Church of Christ and now Associate Dean in the Office of Religious Life at USC. A long-time proponent of progressive Christianity, affiliated with The Center for Progressive Christianity (now progressivechristianity.org), Burklo got the idea from the second of The Eight Points of Progressive Christianity:
By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey.
This was the original promotion:
Progressive Christians thank God for the diversity of religions in the world! We don’t claim that our religion is superior to all others. We grow closer to God, grow deeper in compassion, and understand our own tradition better by honoring and exploring the world’s religions. Many if not most people think that in order to be a Christian, it’s necessary to believe that Christianity is the only valid way to salvation, and that other religions are inferior at best and evil at worst. But Pluralism Sunday spreads good news: there is a way to be Christian without making this prideful claim, which has been the cause of so much inter-religious division and misunderstanding. Pluralism Sunday takes a big step beyond mere “tolerance” of other religions, and affirms that other faiths may be as good for their adherents as our faith is for us.
This week, Jim handed the reins of Pluralism Sunday over to me. Yikes!
Thankfully, the folks at progressivechristianity.org will maintain the website; all I have to do is send them stuff. My immediate goals will be to:
- update the website with resources, stories, etc.
- get publicity out for this year’s Pluralism Sunday
The next stage will be actively recruiting new participants. So this is where you can help. If you’d like to receive information about Pluralism Sunday (and I promise there will not be a flood of emails), let me know and I’ll add you to the list.
Pluralism Sunday is May 7 (although you can change that date to suit your congregation’s needs). It’s not too late to plan something for this year. And I’m happy to be of assistance!
PS – If you’re concerned about how Pluralism Sunday will be received in your congregation, might I recommend The INTRAfaith Conversation: How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves about INTERfaith Matters? It would be a good place to start.