September 3, 2010
Below is a list of the twelve Phoenix Affirmations. Developed originally in 2005-6 by pastors, laypeople, theologians and biblical scholars around the United States from every “mainline” theological tradition and several others, the Phoenix Affirmations are gradually becoming a theological backbone of the progressive Christian movement in the United States. They have also picked up a following in Europe, Australia, and Central America. As affirmations they are NOT meant to act as a creed. That is, the Phoenix Affirmations are NOT to be understood as a test by which people may be judged Christian or not-Christian. The Affirmations are simply meant to be a way by which certain Christians have choose to express their faith.
The Affirmations are also designed to be flexible – not fixed in stone – and thus have a “version number” attached. Since 2006, the version as been 3.8. Below is the “summary version” of the Phoenix Affirmations, which fits on a single page. A “full version” (current version is 3.7) may be found at http://www.crosswalkamerica.org/?tabid=56. Anyone is free to reproduce the Phoenix Affirmations (both “summary” and “full” versions) in full without breaking copyright so long as they are identified as The Phoenix Affirmations and the wording is not changed.
The Phoenix Affirmations have been featured on television in Ireland, and are the subject of a documentary film called The Asphalt Gospel. Two Affirmations commentaries currently exist: Phoenix Affirmations: The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christian Faith, and Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith Along the Highways of America. This latter book, and The Asphalt Gospel film, document the journey of a group known as CrossWalk America who walked across the United States to promote the Phoenix Affirmations in 2006. CrossWalk America has since merged with The Center for Progressive Christianity.
The Phoenix Affirmations
Christian love of God includes:
1. Walking fully in the path of Jesus, without denying the legitimacy of other paths that God may provide for humanity;
2. Listening for God’s Word which comes through daily prayer and meditation, studying the ancient testimonies which we call Scripture, and attending to God’s present activity in the world;
3. Celebrating the God whose Spirit pervades and whose glory is reflected in all of God’s Creation, including the earth and its ecosystems, the sacred and secular, the Christian and non-Christian, the human and non-human;
4. Expressing our love in worship that is as sincere, vibrant, and artful as it is scriptural.
Christian love of neighbor includes:
5. Engaging people authentically, as Jesus did, treating all as creations made in God’s very image, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental ability, nationality, or economic class;
6. Standing, as Jesus does, with the outcast and oppressed, the denigrated and afflicted, seeking peace and justice with or without the support of others;
7. Preserving religious freedom and the church’s ability to speak prophetically to government by resisting the commingling of church and state;
8. Walking humbly with God, acknowledging our own shortcomings while honestly seeking to understand and call forth the best in others, including those who consider us their enemies;
Christian love of self includes:
9. Basing our lives on the faith that in Christ all things are made new and that we, and all people, are loved beyond our wildest imagination – for eternity;
10. Claiming the sacredness of both our minds and our hearts, and recognizing that faith and science, doubt and belief serve the pursuit of truth;
11. Caring for our bodies and insisting on taking time to enjoy the benefits of prayer, reflection, worship, and recreation in addition to work;
12. Acting on the faith that we are born with a meaning and purpose; a vocation and ministry that serve to strengthen and extend God’s realm of love.