Is “religious centrist” a pejorative?

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, former president of Chicago Theological Seminary writes:

I’ll be clear. I’m in favor of reaching out and I am less interested in labels. To me as a person of faith, I believe we should be engaging the public square in order to effect change. In order to effect change, you have to engage in the broadest possible coalition-building. To use a sports metaphor, the point of a football game is not to perfect the huddle, it’s to move the ball down the field.

Here’s the reality check. Before you accuse someone of being a “centrist” and use that as code for lack of faith commitment, ask these questions: Does it matter at all where the center is? Does it matter at all where the center could and should be?

[I]sn’t it a good idea to try to move the center back more toward, well, the center? How do you do that? You do that by building bridges, building trust and building a movement. Movements move. It’s risky, it doesn’t always work out, but it’s how change happens.

Among people who self-identify as liberal or progressive, there should be room for diversity of opinion on how to best effect the change we need. And really, if we can’t honor diversity, aren’t we betraying that fundamental principle of historic liberalism?

Read it all in On Faith.

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