What Conservative Christians are really upset about, deep down, is not that one or a few or dozens or hundreds of their fold are being attracted by liturgical traditions and progressive theology. What they are really upset about is that their ways and their positions of privilege in the world are dying.
It's not right to co-opt a term that has been used for several generations to define a theological movement for your own benefit. And it's especially not right to do it when you are not familiar with, or not willing to honor, the values that progressive Christianity has been trying to model for the larger church for years.
There's a growing dissatisfaction with the traditional view of the church among emerging generations. This dissatisfaction has any number of causes, which the disaffected would name as anti-institutionalism, hypocrisy, judgmentalism, etc. But there's one area of vexation that always seems to come up: the Jesus Gap.
The new pope seems to be signaling is a commitment to following Jesus down the dark alleys of the human journey, in spite of the fact that most of the rest of the religious world appears too busy protecting the 16-lane super highways we built to accommodate the long-since-died-down-increase in traffic.
I realize that when I use the word God, there's a good chance I'm stepping on all kinds of land mines. Is there a more volatile word loaded down with more history, assumptions and expectations than that tired, old, relevant, electrically charged, provocative, fresh, antiquated yet ubiquitous as ever word God?