Rebecca Parker describes in the first chapter of A House For Hope entitled "On Holy Ground" the progressive eschatologies three major forms. The first is the Social Gospel promulgated by Walter Rauschenbursch who believed ardently in social justice as being God's work on earth. This Social Gospel fueled the Civil Rights struggle of the 60s and its theme song might well be "We Shall Overcome."
The second eschatology is the universalist belief that we all will get to heaven, the only question is when and how. The Universalist Belief is in the compassionate, unconditional love of God which is all inclusive. Parker writes on p.10
"In the early nineteenth century, the universalist preacher Hosea Ballou noted that if people imagine a divisive and punishing God whose desire for justice is satisfied by the crucifixion of his own son, they will model themselves after this God and feel justified in being cruel themselves."
Universalism does not believe in a vengeful God and has rejected a belief in redemptive violence which has permeated the cultural Christianity of the United States, in particular, the most powerful county in the world which still practices the death penalty, alone among developed nations, and has supported pre-emptive wars and torture as an acceptable practice to satisfy its own interests.
The third progressive eschatology which Parker describes is what she calls "radically realized eschatology" which affirms that we already stand on holy ground, that we could be aware that we are standing in heaven if only we could only overcome the blocks to the awareness of Love's presence. This radically realized eschatology practices gratitude and strives to experience heaven on earth as is prayed in the Our Father "....Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Bringing our wills into alignment with God's will for us is what contributes to peace and joy.
The first progressive eschatology, the social gospel, is best exemplified in the second and sixth principles of Unitarian Universalism. The second principle is to covenant to affirm and promote, justice, equity, and compassion in human relations and the sixth principle is to covenant to affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
The second progressive eschatology, universalist faith, is best exemplified by the first, third, and the fifth principle which are to covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations, and to covenant to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
The third progressive eschatology, radically realized eschatology, is best exemplified by the fourth and seventh principles which are to covenant to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
In my new, young church, the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, it seems that all three eschatologies are present, but it being a new church there is seems to be a greater emphasis on the inclusiveness of the Unitarian Universalist faith and a commitment to the social gospel without naming it such.
The purpose of church is to promote the "Good News" that there is hope for humanity in spite of the problems which plague us and the suffering we endure as individuals, families, communities, nations, and the whole world.
The major questions of what is the purpose of life, why do we suffer, why do bad things happen, where are we going as a species on this planet, and for what can we, should we hope are all answered in our eschatologies.
At the present time in our culture, in 2012, in the United States most people seem to think that money and guns will save them and keep them safe. Amercia, as a nation, has lost its way, it is a very small denomination which keeps the light a flame, weak as it is, that there is a better way and a more substantial foundation on which to base our hopes for a better experience of ourselves and others on this planet, earth.