[Please scroll to the bottom of this page for the links to download the PDFs.]

Calling all contributors: Yes, that means you!!!

Friends, Blackwoodians, countrymen, countrywomen and countrypeople, lend me your ears!

I seek your contributions and involvement in putting together a “Progressive Christianity Study Series”.

Progressive Christianity seeks to engage with our Christian faith in ways that challenge and expand traditional understandings of the faith. It asks questions that traditionally have not been asked for fear of one being branded a “heretic”. Indeed one of the hallmarks of the Progressive Christianity approach is a willingness to ask uncomfortable questions and a hesitancy to merely accept pat answers to complex questions.

Imagine if, two years from now, Blackwood Uniting Church had a Progressive Christianity Study Series, covering many topics, and which could be used by individuals and groups alike, both within and outside our faith community.

“Sounds great,” I hear some of you say, “but who’s going to put it together?!”

Drum roll…You are!!!
At least I hope you are.

I am hoping to encourage each of you to think about contributing to the creation of a study in this series. That’s right. I am asking for the members of the Blackwood Uniting Church faith community to do the following:

  • Set aside an hour of your time to think about this.
  • Do this thinking in an unhurried, relaxed context (phones OFF, maybe a cuppa or a glass of wine, going for a walk)
  • Ponder during this hour some of the things that have puzzled you, troubled you, shocked you, disturbed you, hurt you, comforted you, changed you, transformed you, on your journey of life and faith.
  • Put down on paper the sort of questions that arise for you. You’re not expected to have answers, but if you have some answers or revelations, however tentative, put them down too.
  • Put down on paper the ways in which these questions and revelations have shaped you and altered how you look at the world and at faith.
  • Does a general “theme” arise for you that might summarise your musings?
  • Ask how you might convey to other people the experiences, thoughts, questions, revelations encompassed by this theme?
  • Put these threads down on paper.
  • Some time later, come back to these writings and review them.
  • See where this thinking and this writing leads you.



“But Michael, I am merely a humble parishioner. What could I possibly contribute?”

Rubbish! One of the things I like about Martin Luther and his Reformation-starting ideas was the notion of “The Priesthood of all Believers.” We are all “ministers” of the gospel; we just happen to express it in our differing and unique ways.

I am so excited about the idea of seeing study contributions from many, many people of such diverse perspectives!


Just to get us started, and to get the creative juices flowing, I have created three proof-of-concept studies, which I’ll leave out at morning tea time, and post on the church website.

I have created these studies using not a whole lot of words, but instead using graphics and other images, which I’m hoping help to make the studies more easily read.

This is just suggestive, not prescriptive!

You can do your study your way!

I’ve also put together a list of possible topics. I share these again, not to be prescriptive, but simply to get people thinking: “Ah, yes, I’ve had questions about XYZ too!”

If you want to create your own study title, entirely from scratch, please do so!

Here’s the idea-seeding list I’ve put together:

BUC Progressive Christianity Study Series

I look forward to hearing back from people!
Michael Dowling

Please click on the Study Links below to download each document.

In the Beginning PCS 001 (In the beginning)
Faith & Doubt PCS 002 (Faith & Doubt)
Jesus: The I AM Metaphors PCS 003 (Jesus – The I AM metaphors)
A Lifetime’s Reflection on “Progressive Christianity” PCS 004 (Reflections on PC – Thelma Pike)
Reading God in BOTH books: the little book of the Bible AND the bigger book of Creation. PCS 005 (Read God in Both Books – Lynona Hawkins)
A Question of Doubt PCS 006 (A Question of Doubt – Penny Harper)
Lord’s Prayer – Remix Version
PCS 007 (Lord’s Prayer – Remix Version)