- Reaction score
- a figment of your imagination
Letter and response from Spong. What I really like is his and many others interest in staying in their preferred church and opening eyes from within.
From: Bishop Spong Q and A <email@example.com>
Subject: Bishop Spong Q&A on January 3, 2007
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 16:25:57 -0500
Valerie from Elgin, IL writes:
" I grew up ECLA Lutheran. My mother was raised Mennonite, which contributed pacifist beliefs. My father was an ordained Methodist minister but worked in a different profession. I married into a Lutheran family and my parents now worship at the United Methodist Church.
I tried very hard to 'make it work' in mainline Christianity. I read, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and that started me on the path of questioning everything. I've been working my way through all of your books and enjoying them quite a bit. Some of your sentences are so finely crafted and beautiful in their content. My mother and I constantly discuss your work. It is very difficult, however, to reconcile our newfound awareness
with our Sunday morning experiences. Certain statements, hymn lyrics or rites have to be outright rejected or translated in my mind. (I refused to allow the Creed at my daughter's baptism!)
I understand your desire for people to stay and fight for change within their particular churches, but that is like trying single-handedly to turn the Titanic around. I have only one life to live. I need to go where my soul is fed. I have recently found the Unity Church and started attending services. I am interested to know what your opinion is of the Unity Church.
P.S. I highly respect your opinion, but please do not feel that I am waiting for your answer in my decision to attend services. I do not mean to imply anything of that nature. "
Thank you for your letter and for your kind words. I am glad that you have found Unity. I think it is one of the most exciting movements within Christianity in the world today.
I had never heard of Unity until about ten years ago. While on a lecture tour of Alaska, I received an invitation to speak at the Unity Church of Anchorage. My response was that "these people don't know how to spell Unitarian!" I had, however, already spoken at the Unitarian Church in Anchorage, meeting there the Rev. Dr. Richard Gay who was, and is, one of the finest clergy I have ever encountered, so I was in some wonderment about what Unity was. I went and that was the first of many enriching experiences I have had with the Unity Movement across the United States and throughout the world.
Unity traces its roots to Mary Baker Eddy and what we once called the Christian Science movement. It has, however, evolved well beyond its origins. It is distinctively Christian but they have managed to escape the traditional Christian obsession with sin, guilt, rescue and control. They teach the goodness of God's creation, the capacity of human beings to grow spiritually and they avoid dated concepts like sacrifice and the sacredness of shed blood.
I have found their clergy to be bright, well trained, open and positive. Their Spiritual Center and Training School is in Lee's Summit, Missouri. The things that attract me to Unity are their dedication to education; the consistently high quality of their music; their commitment to affirm their children rather than to make them feel inadequate; their care for one another and the joy that permeates Unity worship. I don't know that Unity will be the future of Christianity but I do believe that the Christianity of the future will have many of the marks of Unity within it. I find that many people are like you, they discover Unity when they awaken to what Christianity can be and compare it to what they experience in many churches on Sunday morning.
I remain committed to reforming the church of my birth but I am deeply grateful for what Unity has done for me and for the way that Unity has enriched my life.
I wish you well on your journey.
-- John Shelby Spong