In his blog today Frater RO put out the call for the appearance of Liberal Pastors. The thing is that they are already here. Entire movements of them.
MAINLINE CHRISTIANITY: Mainline Christianity (most of Protestant Denominations, named after the railroad mainline in Philadelphia where many of these denominations first became established) WAS the majority of Christianity in this country – now quickly become overshadowed by Evangelicals. Those that do maintain the term Mainline Christian vary from center left (not going to be active against gay marriage, but probably not ok with gay Clergy) to people REALLY far left theologically like Bishop Sprong, former Episcopal Bishop of Newark who basically would re-write the creed, 10 commandments, and everything else to reflect a VERY liberal Christianity. In the middle are people like Father Matthew, another Episcopalean whose videos I have occasionally linked to from this blog.
In short: there are still a lot of people who do not attend non-denominational mega churches. Those people tend to be Liberal.
LIBERAL EVANGELICALS: Rick Warren, the popular Mega Church Pastor, is liberal by the standards of current Evangelicals. He is looking to bridge the gap between the two and bring back socially liberal activity into the evangelist churches.
Rob Bell is another example of a Liberal Evangelical, going so far as to write a book detailing why, if God is Love, there can be no hell.
EMERGING CHURCH: Emerging church is a post modern Christian Movement that is really shaking things up. Brian McLaren, who would go so far sometimes as to say that an evangelist should be primarily concerned with spreading the things that Christ taught rather than Christianity itself. Here is a great quote:
“I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts … rather than resolving the paradox via pronouncements on the eternal destiny of people more convinced by or loyal to other religions than ours, we simply move on … To help Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and everyone else experience life to the full in the way of Jesus (while learning it better myself), I would gladly become one of them (whoever they are), to whatever degree I can, to embrace them, to join them, to enter into their world without judgment but with saving love as mine has been entered by the Lord” (A Generous Orthodoxy, 260, 262, 264).
Go check out emergentvillage.org for more info.
CONTEMPLATIVES: Contemplative and Mystical Christianity is becoming a rising force in both the Protestant and Catholic world. Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Labrynth Walking, Neo Hesychasm, and even more esoteric practices like Grudjiefian work. While you cannot bank on all contemplatives being Liberal, most seem to bend that way. Father Richard Rohr, Anglican Contemplative Maggie Ross, and former Pagan turned Christian Mystic Carl McColeman are just a few names that come to mind off the top of my head.
Not one but TWO of the Catholic Churches near me have strong contemplative groups and interests, carrying books on mysticism , hosting labrynth walks, and hooking people up with spiritual directors that will guide them through the practices.
FRINGE CHRISTIANITY. I dont mean fringe in a bad way. Only that something in the theology keeps it from being the type of thing covered in Christianity Today. My beloved Swedenborgians would fall into this group, as would Gnostic Christian Churches, The Liberal Catholic Church, some Independent Catholic Churches (a few of which are independent because they want to be more conservative than Rome), and Christian Magical groups like the Avalonians and such.