Evolutionary consciousness is a term from the sciences, acknowledging that the whole of existence is evolving: the cosmos (13.8 billion years), the planet (5 billion years), biological life (2.5 billion years), human understanding. As people of faith, we acknowledge that the source of this movement toward greater wholeness and complexity is God/Christ. We as a species have moved from early primate to homo sapiens; from tribal communities where only the collective community mattered to an understanding of the sacred importance of the individual and now to understanding that individuality must be in balance with the greater common good. Our morality continues to evolve as we have moved out of acceptance (and even promotion) of slavery, child labor, genocide, geocide, gender inequality, racism, ethnocentrism.
And we stretch because these new understandings don’t come without much study, prayer, reflection, dialogue, and the ministerial challenges that call us to new growth. We have to let go of preconceived ideas, biases, prejudices, incorrect information that fosters contempt and even hatred of others who are not like us. Letting go of these culturally learned biases is still as much of a stretch as it was when Jesus first uttered “Love your neighbor” and “Love your enemy.”