by Bil Aulenbach

Are You a PC?

pcI call myself a PC, but that does not mean politically correct, which I usually am not. If I was with a group of mainstream Protestant clergy, most of them would know that when I call myself a PC, I mean I am a progressive Christian. I can hear some of you asking, “What or who in the world is that?” Here is what I’d tell you: PCs have a tendency to ask hard questions. They might be blunt because they often want you to define what you mean when you use certain words. They have a tendency to challenge dogma, doctrine, and traditions that have been around for centuries.

Here’s an example. Suppose you say, “I love God.” The PC would probably ask you to define your god because, as you know, there are thousands of definitions for that word, and they usually depend on your life experiences. A PC might even ask, “What does your god do for you?” Suppose you use the name “Jesus”—I’ll bet a PC would ask you about him. Who is he, for you? I know I would ask, “Do you think he was a human? Was he God?”

Occasionally, someone talking with a PC will ask the PC a question about his or her thoughts or beliefs. Most of the time, the listener will be very surprised because answers PCs give are generally not textbook responses. But the answers can make people think. They can even make some folks angry. People have often told me that they would have never expected to hear my answer from an Episcopal priest who has been in the business of church for almost sixty years. But many PCs, ordained and laity, are part of mainline churches. However, there are no churches where there are only PCs.

Finding PCs in other countries around the world is difficult because most of those countries have either given up on the institutional church because it’s so out of touch or have switched to fundamentalism. But in some European countries, the PC movement is creeping in, and folks like what they are hearing.

I have just finished writing a book called Cramming for the Finals. The title is from a joke that I share in the book, and it alludes to death. So let’s talk about what is going to happen to you when you die. Will you go to heaven? (I have never met anyone who has said “Of course I will!”) Or are you going to hell, and if so, why? (Please don’t tell me you’re going to hell because all your friends are there.) The easy answer is that you are going to purgatory, which really means “I don’t know.” Will you meet Saint Peter? Will he have a scroll that tells everything you ever did in your entire life? Is Peter going to judge you, or are you going to be passed on to God, who will make the final judgment? Wherever you go, will you have a fun roommate or could it be a Hitler type? Will you be reincarnated? As an ant or a lion? (I have chosen lion.) Then you might ask, “How long is eternity? What does one do all day in heaven? Play golf? What does one do all day in hell? Play golf?”

The questions could go on and on. In Cramming for the Finals, you can find the answers, and I suspect you’ll be surprised at some of them. That’s why I wrote the book.

What are your thoughts about death? Are they the same as what you were originally taught, or have they changed? Let me know in the comments section.


The image in this post is in the public domain courtesy of Jeroným Pelikovský.