Author: John Shelby Spong

Discussion in 'Media' started by wil, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    from wiki

    Episcopal Church in the United States of America
    Bishop Episcopal Diocese of Newark
    In office 1979–2000

    Ordination 1955
    Consecration June 12, 1976

    Born June 16, 1931 (age 83)

    Publications...(five before he became a Bishop, eight after he retired, the rest while in office)

    1973 – Honest Prayer, ISBN 1-878282-18-2
    1974 – This Hebrew Lord, ISBN 0-06-067520-9
    1975 – Christpower, ISBN 1-878282-11-5
    1975 – Dialogue: In Search of Jewish-Christian Understanding (co-authored with Rabbi Jack Daniel Spiro), ISBN 1-878282-16-6
    1976 – Life Approaches Death: A Dialogue on Ethics in Medicine
    1977 – The Living Commandments, ISBN 1-878282-17-4
    1980 – The Easter Moment, ISBN 1-878282-15-8
    1983 – Into the Whirlwind: The Future of the Church, ISBN 1-878282-13-1
    1986 – Beyond Moralism: A Contemporary View of the Ten Commandments (co-authored with Denise G. Haines, Archdeacon), ISBN 1-878282-14-X
    1987 – Consciousness and Survival: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into the possibility of Life Beyond Biological Death (edited by John S. Spong, introduction by Claiborne Pell), ISBN 0-943951-00-3
    1988 – Living in Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality, ISBN 0-06-067507-1
    1991 – Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture, ISBN 0-06-067518-7
    1992 – Born of a Woman: A Bishop Rethinks the Birth of Jesus, ISBN 0-06-067523-3
    1994 – Resurrection: Myth or Reality? A Bishop's Search for the Origins of Christianity, ISBN 0-06-067546-2
    1996 – Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes, ISBN 0-06-067557-8
    1999 – Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers In Exile, ISBN 0-06-067536-5
    2001 – Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality, ISBN 0-06-067539-X
    2002 - God in Us: A Case for Christian Humanism (with Anthony Freeman), ISBN 978-0907845171
    2002 – A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born, ISBN 0-06-067063-0
    2005 – The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love, ISBN 0-06-076205-5
    2007 – Jesus for the Non-Religious, ISBN 0-06-076207-1
    2009 – Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell, ISBN 0-06-076206-3
    2011 - Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, ISBN 978-0-06-201128-2
    2013 - The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic, ISBN 978-0-06-201130-5
     
  2. Thepasserby

    Thepasserby Thepasserby

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    I liked his book "Sins Of Scripture". Also, I've seen some cool videos of seminars he gave on youtube. He seems like my kind of former Catholic Bishop. He questions things!
     
  3. DeiGratia

    DeiGratia New Member

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    My intention here is not railing against Bishop Spong. I simply offer an opposition. I respect his devotion to his conviction, and I share the frustration he feels toward some bible-punchers that lack in the awareness of Christ's true teachings, compassion and forgiveness. And I can see that Bishop Spong is compassion-driven, for that I applaud him. But nonetheless, I must lodge an objection to his perception of Christianity.

    I read his book "Jesus for the Non-Religious" some time ago, and I must say I was left with the impression that he is an atheist. He explained how humans "created" religions in order to keep societies orderly or to mitigate the fear of death — not because the divine revealed itself to us. He didn't allow room for any transcendental elements in how we have developed consciousness but only stated that it just "happened". Therefore no purpose or design for our lives was accounted for by him.

    Bishop Spong says "Christianity must change or die". To some degree, I see what he means. There are times when reformation is absolutely necessary. I myself too adjudge fundamentalism to be a problem. But the change he's suggesting is taking the divine out of Christianity. That is not just a change or reformation; it's like dissecting the heart out of the body. If he had said, "Our predecessors' portrayal of God is wrong, or part of their interpretations of God's law is incorrect, or Christ's teachings haven't been correctly passed on ...", then I'd be all ears. Those are legitimate, important discussions among Christians.

    But if he doesn't acknowledge the divine existence, a personal God who cares about how we live, then the integral essence of Christianity is lost. I don't see a point in preserving Christianity for preservation’s sake, because without the monotheistic God, what's left would be indistinguishable from Deism where God doesn't care – I never understood why we need to honor His law, if God Himself doesn't care if we follow His law or not to begin with – or even from Secular Humanism where Naturalism is the basis of its world-view.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that's the impression he leaves most people with. It seems to me his 'God' is a projection of the human exemplar.

    This is a post-modern perception and is, I would suggest, somewhat naive. Religions are far more complex than that. Of course, if you base your assumptions on the 'least best' example (or interpretation) then it's easy to make this suggestion ... but philosophically it's a nonsense, because religious are far more philosophically worked out.

    Well, Christianity's been around 2,000 years and shows little sign of going away, whereas Bishop Spong's philosophy sits neatly within the post-60s milleau and is as ephemeral as that. The Jesus Seminar et al has already been written off as a fad in scholarly circles.

    But when Bishop Spong refutes Christianity, it's the rather shallow American versions he seems to be aiming at ... this side of the pond, I'm afraid we find the America assumption that the rest of the world doesn't count as somewhat amusing.

    I would go as far as to say taking the Christ out of Christianity. What's left, it seems to me, is a rather romantic and sentimental humanism that lacks the courage to declare itself atheist.

    Music to mine ears!
     

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