Jesus For The Non-religious

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Roger Morrison
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Jesus For The Non-religious

Post by Roger Morrison »

This is the title of Spong's just-off-the-press latest. Haven't read it yet. But i paste below a paragraph from his recent News Letter. Highly recommend the letter...
Why do we not understand that every explanation of anything is filtered through the presuppositions, the world view and the level of knowledge available to the explainer? That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. When that truth is realized, all ecclesiastical claims about possessing unchanging and ultimate truth are relativized. Every reformation begins in this understanding. It was my intention in this book first to establish that truth and then to draw from it startling and necessary conclusions.


I think the above should be understood--agreed with or not--so as to get the whole theologigical influence into a reality perspective. Seems folks have little difficulty doing this considering past sciences as simple beginnings to more complex and functionary steps which have led humanity to: blah, blah, blah... You name 'em...

Why do we seem to remain stuck in the quick-sand when it comes to things of the Spirit, as that is defined by religious rigors?? "What fools these mortals be!" Warm regards, Roger

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Post by Sam Harris »

Hey Roger, I like Spong. I just started reading some of his stuff. I find it refreshingly amazing that a bishop can take such an honest look at his faith. This is the type of honest belief I've been looking for within my own walk. I cannot insist that Christianity is THE ONLY WAY (and boy have the effigies been hauled out at that one!), it's just MY WAY, my choice.

I wonder what is so frightening about admitting that what you see is merely your perception?
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. -Ghandi

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Post by Roger Morrison »

GIMR wrote:Hey Roger, I like Spong. I just started reading some of his stuff. I find it refreshingly amazing that a bishop can take such an honest look at his faith. This is the type of honest belief I've been looking for within my own walk. I cannot insist that Christianity is THE ONLY WAY (and boy have the effigies been hauled out at that one!), it's just MY WAY, my choice.

I wonder what is so frightening about admitting that what you see is merely your perception?


GIMR, good question. Could it be insecurity? Lack of confidence? Fear of the dark? The last not meant to be facetious. Rather 'dark' brings a tendency that compels folks to pull their blinds down, lock their doors and cover their heads until sun-up...

Suppositions; but en mass we're not adventurous, exploratory, creative, inventive nor thinkers... Generally speaking, we are conditioned to BELIEVE. Extremely so in LDSism where the "iron rod" rules. Just hang-on-tight, follow the leaders, and don't ask critical questions...

Threaten/challenge our beliefs, or the system that substantiates our beliefs, can do anything and everything to us, from cause embarrassement to make us kill; defensively AND offensively!

Such a pityful state of humanity, IMSCO, displays our faith-based Christianism to be diametrically opposed to the ways-and-means of Jesusism. Hence we flounder in an ineffectual philosophy scrambling to justify its existance by appealing to human weakness and fears while debilitating too many with guilt and self-doubt. In the case of LDSism they offer the one-and-only fix-all IF YOU Believe and OBEY. That too is frightening...

Yikes! They are threatening my beliefs!!!! How embarrassing :-) Warm regards, Roger

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Post by Mephitus »

I guess the issue that this stems from is that we are at heart small group social animals. Anything that threatens the group could literaly cause you to die due to lack of support. This has been true to most of the world untill only very recently.(even then, only for a pie slice of the world) And since religion usualy is a basis for making those groups. It has evolved to make sure that such groups are elitest and can keep its members within the group as much as possible. The new evolution of this is rather interesting, as such religious areas such as paganism in general re-asserts itself since it is a personalized expression of your beliefs without having a threat on a group if you have views that could be considered dissenting.
One nice thing is, ze game of love is never called on account of darkness - Pepe Le Pew

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Mary
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Post by Mary »

Thanks for that Roger.

Someone on Post Mormon.org recommended Spong to me, and it was an exhilarating experience to read his book

'Why Christianity must Change or Die'

He put into words a lot of what I had been thinking about christianity and the bible.

Great stuff. I shall check his latest work out.

Mary

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richardMdBorn
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Re: Jesus For The Non-religious

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Why do we not understand that every explanation of anything is filtered through the presuppositions, the world view and the level of knowledge available to the explainer? That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. When that truth is realized, all ecclesiastical claims about possessing unchanging and ultimate truth are relativized. Every reformation begins in this understanding. It was my intention in this book first to establish that truth and then to draw from it startling and necessary conclusions.

It seems to me that Spong has contradicted himself.

That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. Does it include this statement?

That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. Is this Spong's infallible proposition?

It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. Does it apply to this statement

I could go on, but Spong's a pretty stupid cookie. He didn't do very well against Erwin Lutzer of Moody Church on WGN radio in 1998.

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Post by Mary »

Richard. He goes further in some areas than I would go, but I don't think you can call him a 'stupid cooky'.

What I got from him is that he tries to take out the myth from religion and religious works, and see them as they are -
valuable myths. To a great extent I agree with him. Adam and Eve are powerful stories, as is the story of Noah's Ark, but
I don't think many would regard them as fact.

I like his path away from fundamentalism.

Three theologians were on a British TV prog some time ago, and one said

'dogma is the death of spirituality'

I 'think' I understand that, and I think that Spong kind of heads that way too.

Can you be specific on what you think of his ideas?
It's an interesting area..
Last edited by Mary on Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Roger Morrison
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Re: Jesus For The Non-religious

Post by Roger Morrison »

richardMdBorn wrote:
Why do we not understand that every explanation of anything is filtered through the presuppositions, the world view and the level of knowledge available to the explainer? That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. When that truth is realized, all ecclesiastical claims about possessing unchanging and ultimate truth are relativized. Every reformation begins in this understanding. It was my intention in this book first to establish that truth and then to draw from it startling and necessary conclusions.

It seems to me that Spong has contradicted himself.

Hi Rich, you have an interesting perspective. I'll attempt my response to your response in UL

That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. Does it include this statement?

RM: Do you think it could do otherwise?

That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. Is this Spong's infallible proposition?

RM: Do you think Spong pretends "infallibility"?


It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. Does it apply to this statement

RM: What makes you think it wouldn't?

I could go on, but Spong's a pretty stupid cookie. He didn't do very well against Erwin Lutzer of Moody Church on WGN radio in 1998.


I can't comment on the 1998, interview. I didn't see it. However, i will comment on your statement; "...Spong's a pretty stupid cookie." In my seriously considered opinion, (IMSCO) it demeans you more than it does Spong. Be that as it may.

Rich, i don't know your background. (Care to fill me in? LDS? Non?) Do you consider youself to be a 'thinker' or a 'believer'? I assume from your comments, the latter??? Why not "think" about Spong's propositions? He is after-all a more leading "Thinker" than either You or Me...

Mis taken:Roger... What I got from him is that he tries to take out the myth from religion and religious works, and see them as they are -
valuable myths. To a great extent I agree with him. Adam and Eve are powerful stories, as is the story of Noah's Ark, but
I don't think many would regard them as fact. RM: Nor do i.

I like his path away from fundamentalism. RM: So do i!

Three theologians were on a British TV prog some time ago, and one said

'dogma is the death of spirituality' RM: I agree. There is no spontaneity, or warmth in 'dogma'. It is uncompromising, legalistic and "killeth the Spirit".

I 'think' I understand that, and I think that Spong kind of heads that way too. RM: i would say so too. I think Spong attempts to bring justice back into Christianism. A justice that long ago was compromised by social discriminations, prejudices and blatant indifference to the caring-for-all messages Jesus delivered. Caring that even Isaiah expressed: "...to preach good tidings unto the meek...bind up the broken hearted...liberty to the captives...opening the prison to those that are bound..." (Isa. 61:1) Those are things of Conscienced Spirit that should base Christianism. Not Fall, Redemption, and Salvation in Isolation...

Can you be specific on what you think of his ideas? It's an interesting area..


It is a most interesting area AND 'era'! I think Spong is the latest, and the best publicized at the moment, to question with scholarly-common-sense what has been evolving since "Man" dared to question "God's" word... What and how much of bible text and tale can be taken seriously as anything beyond docudrama? Does accepting it in that light darken its moral significance? Not to anyone who experiences honest loving relationships.

It could however threaten those whose strength comes from authoritative dominion over submissive souls who place their confidence in others, and their loyality to institutions. Only the most noble will abandon their places of power, stepping aside to facilitate humanity's advancement... Blah, blah, blah...

John said, "...one comes greater than i..." Can you imagine a Political, Social, Religious Leader saying the same thing today? Warm regards, Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

I took a course from the well known scholar Jonathan Z. Smith at the U of Chicago. It was over a decade ago, so I don’t recall the title, but we read a lot of deconstructionists/postmodernists, etc. This section from Spong reminds me of that nonsense.

1950s-1960s comedian Tom Lehrer said

“Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days in books,and plays,and movies on, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love. Husbands and wives who can't communicate; children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books, and plays, and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate the very least he can do is to shut up.”

If you believe, like Spong, that there is no such thing as a creed, then don’t give me your own version of a creed. If you think that all arguments are time bound, then spare me and shut up.
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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

Thanks for your reply. My new responses start with my name is Caps.

Hi Rich, you have an interesting perspective. I'll attempt my response to your response in UL
That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. Does it include this statement?

RM: Do you think it could do otherwise?

RICH If every statement is time bound, why should I pay any attention to Spong? Even if his statement is true today, it may be false tomorrow.

That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. Is this Spong's infallible proposition?

RM: Do you think Spong pretends "infallibility"?

RICH Well, he was pretty obnoxious to conservative Anglican theologians from Africa.

Spong was interviewed for The Church of England Newspaper by its deputy editor, Andrew Carey, who happens to be the Archbishop of Canterbury's son. Africans, said Spong, had "moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity." They had not "faced the intellectual revolution" of the West or the discoveries of Copernicus and Einstein.
The Africans, understandably, were furious. "He is really looking down on us," fumed a Ugandan bishop. "I am portrayed as someone who does not know Scripture or doctrine."

"If they feel patronized, that's too bad," replied Spong. "I'm not going to cease being a twentieth-century person for fear of offending somebody in the Third World."

"Scientific advances," Spong also said, "have given us a new understanding of homosexual people." The Bishop of Enugu in Nigeria, on the other hand, flatly told the General Secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Christian Movement, "You will go to hell." No spin-doctor could spin that sort of disagreement away. An evasive resolution was dropped, and, after a courteous debate, a resolution declaring homosexual practice to be "incompatible with Scripture" was passed by an unexpectedly large majority of 7 to 1. This, announced the gay lobby, was "the unacceptable face of Christianity." The American liberals made it clear they were not going to change their position -- any more than Bishop Spong is going to tell Africans, let alone Afro-Americans, in any other context that they are only just down from the trees.
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/ ... i_21123144

Clearly, Spong thinks that he is right and people me are wrong. But I argue that his position makes it impossible to assert that certain things are right or wrong.

It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. Does it apply to this statement

RM: What makes you think it wouldn't?

RICH The fact that Spong takes the trouble of arguing.

Rich, i don't know your background. (Care to fill me in? LDS? Non?) Do you consider youself to be a 'thinker' or a 'believer'? I assume from your comments, the latter??? Why not "think" about Spong's propositions? He is after-all a more leading "Thinker" than either You or Me...

RICH I’m an evangelical and never was LDS. I grew up in the DC area. My father played a major role in the space program. He invented GPS for example (and received the National Medal of Technology from the President last year). I have degrees from Brown U and the University of Chicago. I finished the course work for an MA in church history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. As I wrote in my previous post, I’ve read a lot of similar texts to Spong's and am not impressed.

I’m busy working on a history of GPS. See my article:
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/626/1
Last edited by richardMdBorn on Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Gazelam »

Roger, how long have you been following Spong? it sounds like his ideas are very similar to those expressed in your book. Very interesting read bytheway. a lot to take in on every page.

Q: Why does a man like Spong, who is a supposed Christian, deny that Christ is the only way? What are his views regarding Baptism? How does he interpret John 3:3-5?
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Hi Rich, am i to take this statement of yours seriously? (Looks like i messed up on the "Quote" button? So i'll improv with """"xyz""""....
""""If you believe, like Spong, that there is no such thing as a creed, then don’t give me your own version of a creed. If you think that all arguments are time bound, then spare me and shut up."""" (Bold Added)

Please answer this for me, "to be taken seriously"? Yes or no? Respectfully, Roger

richardMdBorn wrote:Hi Roger,

Thanks for your reply. My new responses start with my name is Caps.

Hi Rich, you have an interesting perspective. I'll attempt my response to your response in UL
That is why every explanation is both time-bound and time-warped. Does it include this statement?

RM: Do you think it could do otherwise?

RICH If every statement is time bound, why should I pay any attention to Spong? Even if his statement is true today, it may be false tomorrow.

That is also why there can be no such thing as an infallible set of human propositions called a creed or an inerrant piece of human writing called a Bible. Is this Spong's infallible proposition?

RM: Do you think Spong pretends "infallibility"?

RICH Well, he was pretty obnoxious to conservative Anglican theologians from Africa.

Spong was interviewed for The Church of England Newspaper by its deputy editor, Andrew Carey, who happens to be the Archbishop of Canterbury's son. Africans, said Spong, had "moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity." They had not "faced the intellectual revolution" of the West or the discoveries of Copernicus and Einstein.
The Africans, understandably, were furious. "He is really looking down on us," fumed a Ugandan bishop. "I am portrayed as someone who does not know Scripture or doctrine."

"If they feel patronized, that's too bad," replied Spong. "I'm not going to cease being a twentieth-century person for fear of offending somebody in the Third World."

"Scientific advances," Spong also said, "have given us a new understanding of homosexual people." The Bishop of Enugu in Nigeria, on the other hand, flatly told the General Secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Christian Movement, "You will go to hell." No spin-doctor could spin that sort of disagreement away. An evasive resolution was dropped, and, after a courteous debate, a resolution declaring homosexual practice to be "incompatible with Scripture" was passed by an unexpectedly large majority of 7 to 1. This, announced the gay lobby, was "the unacceptable face of Christianity." The American liberals made it clear they were not going to change their position -- any more than Bishop Spong is going to tell Africans, let alone Afro-Americans, in any other context that they are only just down from the trees.
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/ ... i_21123144

RM: Obviously you have a negative opinion of Spong. So be it. I think you tend to word bandering that i find far below the discussion level i expect from claimants of advanced education: "...only just down from the trees" ... really Rich!!?

AND, what is your position re our Homosexual kin? Do you think, "...(they) will go to hell"?

Clearly, Spong thinks that he is right and people me are wrong. But I argue that his position makes it impossible to assert that certain things are right or wrong.

It is, therefore, nothing but an illusory power play when the church claims that its sacred formularies have somehow escaped the obvious subjectivity of words. Does it apply to this statement

RM: What makes you think it wouldn't?

RICH The fact that Spong takes the trouble of arguing.

Rich, i don't know your background. (Care to fill me in? LDS? Non?) Do you consider youself to be a 'thinker' or a 'believer'? I assume from your comments, the latter??? Why not "think" about Spong's propositions? He is after-all a more leading "Thinker" than either You or Me...

RICH I’m an evangelical and never was LDS. I grew up in the DC area. My father played a major role in the space program. He invented GPS for example (and received the National Medal of Technology from the President last year). I have degrees from Brown U and the University of Chicago. I finished the course work for an MA in church history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. As I wrote in my previous post, I’ve read a lot of similar texts to Spongs and am not impressed.

[b]RM:
Congrat to your Dad! I use a GPS on my boat. But have to admit there are things 'it' can do, that 'i' haven't mastered as yet. Maybe you could do a book "GPS For Idiots"...i think it would be a BIG seller ;-)

I’m busy working on a history of GPS. See my article:
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/626/1[/b]


As you are an Evangelical, i understand your objection to Spong on all fronts. I'm sure he is an offence to all that you believe to be "God's" word. The migration of a small number of Episcopalians/Anglicans to attach to an African Dioceses to distance themselves from its New NA Christian positions on social issues is common knowledge. And not unexpected. I could send you some stats as to #s etc. FYI, ex-Bishop Tutu, and other prominents, strongly support Spong on the homosexual issue. As for his other propositions they are up for discussion. Of interest to you???

I hope you don't find these few minutes unworthy of your time... Warm regards, Roger

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Gazelam wrote:Roger, how long have you been following Spong? it sounds like his ideas are very similar to those expressed in your book. Very interesting read bytheway. a lot to take in on every page.

Q: Why does a man like Spong, who is a supposed Christian, deny that Christ is the only way? What are his views regarding Baptism? How does he interpret John 3:3-5?


Hi Gazelam: I'm glad you're finding my book an "interesting read" :-) It was a work-in-progress for more than a decade. Spong came after the book. Actually i gave him a copy after a lecture he gave in Canada a few years ago. Yes, we do share some similar thoughts. Although, i think he MIGHT stop short of where i am tending to go... As for Baptism, i think we both see it as symbolic and an initiatory rite. That it has inherant Spiritual power, i doubt. It could however mean more to one individual than another. That individual might then 'feel' a significance that another would not...

Not sure what Spong says about John 3:3-5. But here's how i interpret it: "a person be born again...of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of "God" Shortened to emphasis the significant--change of character is essentially Spiritual. The Kingdom is a place of peace and goodwill. A place that would discomfort a brutish, fearful person. Turning away from past practices that demeaned others towards the Two New Commandments demonstrates purpose AND accomplishment.

The 'water' is, IMSCO, simply a symbol and ritual... An outward sign, that may or may not be followed with an inner change... There is no magic in the water. It isn't holy. Thus the mode, immersion, sprinkling, etc is immaterial. The Spiritual change is all that is important--as i understand it... Many watered that bear rather poor fruit... Ya know what i'm saying, Bro?? Warm regards, Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

As you are an Evangelical, i understand your objection to Spong on all fronts.

It goes beyond that. As someone who thinks that words have meaning, Spong is an offense to me. The deconstructionists were an offense to me. It’s similar to Marx discussing how arguments are bound by class consciousness but exempting himself.

I'm sure he is an offence to all that you believe to be "God's" word. The migration of a small number of Episcopalians/Anglicans to attach to an African Dioceses to distance themselves from its New NA Christian positions on social issues is common knowledge. And not unexpected. I could send you some stats as to #s etc. FYI, ex-Bishop Tutu, and other prominents, strongly support Spong on the homosexual issue. As for his other propositions they are up for discussion. Of interest to you???

List one that’s of particular interest to you.

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Post by Mary »

Roger, apologies over mistaking your name with Richard's.
I have now corrected my post.

Hope you guys carry on. This is an interesting conversation.
I'll have to organise my thoughts a bit more before I chip in.

Mary

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Post by Mary »

Before I go out for the day.

One thought that comes to mind is whether or not Spong's works have any relevance today.

I think they do. Christianity over here is (other than in name only) very much dying on the vine.
Many can't relate to it in terms of the reality of their own culture and needs.

In this way I see Spong as trying to bridge the gap between today's scientific advances and what really is
a very antiquated and inaccessible culture such as is portrayed in the bible.

His message, and hopefully the message of Jesus of Nazareth is still the same though in dynamic terms.
The core message of Jesus to love others and yourself and in so doing love God is the same.
Everything else is just fluff.

Just a few thoughts.

Mary

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Post by Roger Morrison »

richardMdBorn wrote:Hi Roger,

As you are an Evangelical, i understand your objection to Spong on all fronts.

It goes beyond that. As someone who thinks that words have meaning, Spong is an offense to me. The deconstructionists were an offense to me. It’s similar to Marx discussing how arguments are bound by class consciousness but exempting himself.

I'm sure he is an offence to all that you believe to be "God's" word. The migration of a small number of Episcopalians/Anglicans to attach to an African Dioceses to distance themselves from its New NA Christian positions on social issues is common knowledge. And not unexpected. I could send you some stats as to #s etc. FYI, ex-Bishop Tutu, and other prominents, strongly support Spong on the homosexual issue. As for his other propositions they are up for discussion. Of interest to you???

List one that’s of particular interest to you.


Rich, i don't take offense from words. They simply transport thoghts that i might agree, or disagree with. Then i go on from there. BUT always with a better understanding--from my perspective, right or wrong--of the person i'm communicating with. Always more 'enlightened'... One thing though, among others ;-) that does trouble me is 'labels': "Deconstructionist/ism" as an example... they too often seem elitist or parochial... You know what i'm saying???

You haven't answere my question re "Homosexuality"??? Were you in a snitt when using the term "shut up!"??? Whatever... "List one..."
How about "Biblical literacy"... Eve from Adam's rib??

Mary, thanks for your interest, and thoughts. I look forward to sharing with You.

Pasted below is a paragraph from Spong's response to a question re his understanding of "life everlasting". I think it will interest both You & Richard, as well as others:
Don Cupitt has written many books since The Sea of Faith, but all of them assume the analysis developed in this monumental and groundbreaking work. Over the course of these successive books he developed his concept of "Non-Realism." He says that all God talk is conducted in a language that human beings have created and therefore all God talk is a human creation. With that I am in full agreement. He then concludes that God is, therefore, only the creation of human language and that there is no reality to which that language points. With that conclusion I totally disagree. While I am certain that the word "God" is a human attempt, in admittedly human language, to describe a human experience, I affirm that the experience is real. We call the God experience "otherness," "transcendence," or even "the holy." We recognize that this reality is not capable of being defined, but that inability does not make this experience unreal. I will not claim for my language or the language of the Bible, creeds or doctrines any sense of ultimacy, inerrancy or infallibility. I do believe, however, those words point to a reality that is transforming and consciousness-raising and that this reality invites me into having the courage to be more than I have been before. So I stand before this undefined presence that I call God, in awe and wonder. God is real to me. I create my definitions of God, but I do not create the God experience. So I am theologically a "Realist" not a "non-Realist." I still admire and profit from Don Cupitt's work and I still claim him as a special friend.


I think this displays Spong as being less off-the-mark than some might think... I haven't read Cupitt as yet, but a visit to the library should remedy that... Warm regards, Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

My new comments are in bold.

Roger Rich, i don't take offense from words. They simply transport thoghts that i might agree, or disagree with. Then i go on from there. BUT always with a better understanding--from my perspective, right or wrong--of the person i'm communicating with. Always more 'enlightened'... One thing though, among others ;-) that does trouble me is 'labels': "Deconstructionist/ism" as an example... they too often seem elitist or parochial... You know what i'm saying???

Richard If you don’t like generalities all we will left with are specifics.

Roger You haven't answere my question re "Homosexuality"??? Were you in a snitt when using the term "shut up!"???

Richard I wasn’t upset with you. I was upset with Spong. I rarely get upset with folks from the MB, as those who have interacted with me form ZLMB can attest. Sorry, I missed your new comments in the long quote. I thought it was just repeating our previous discussion. You need to highlight your new text for me. Let’s deal with homosexuality rather than Adam and Eve. I think that will be of more general interest to the MB than Genesis.

Roger Obviously you have a negative opinion of Spong. So be it. I think you tend to word bandering that i find far below the discussion level i expect from claimants of advanced education: "...only just down from the trees" ... really Rich!!?

Richard You are confusing the quote with my original text.
“in any other context that they are only just down from the trees.” was from the article. I cited the source just underneath it.


Roger AND, what is your position re our Homosexual kin? Do you think, "...(they) will go to hell"?

Richard We need to back up a level or two. Is there any sexual relationship that you consider wrong? Is there any sexual relationship forbidden in the Bible which is still forbidden? I assume that you would agree that rape is wrong. How about incest? If the prohibition on homosexuality is to be reinterpreted, how do you justify continuing the prohibition against incest. Can sons and mothers get married? How about the possibility of two or more women marrying two or more men. If the world sets the agenda for the church, where does it end?

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Hi Rich, i just sat down, and up you came! Timing or what :-) Thanks for the clarifications... You say:

Richard You are confusing the quote with my original text.
“in any other context that they are only just down from the trees.” was from the article. I cited the source just underneath it.

Right, i missed the source: A Spong detractor. I'm sure they're not Spong's words. Glad they weren't yours.

Let’s deal with homosexuality rather than Adam and Eve. I think that will be of more general interest to the MB than Genesis.


I think your opinion of "Adam and Eve" in Genesis MIGHT be quite germain to your position on Homosexuality. Certainly literalism, and biblical inerrancy will be the trust of both of our positions--i suspect?? Actually, i think the MB would be VERY interested in the Genesis roots of a lot of the confusion in both the religious and secular communities. As it ever has been... IF you will indicate your sentiments re Adam & Eve & Genesis, it will be very helpful to all...

Richard We need to back up a level or two. Is there any sexual relationship that you consider wrong? Is there any sexual relationship forbidden in the Bible which is still forbidden? I assume that you would agree that rape is wrong. How about incest? If the prohibition on homosexuality is to be reinterpreted, how do you justify continuing the prohibition against incest. Can sons and mothers get married? How about the possibility of two or more women marrying
two or more men. If the world sets the agenda for the church, where does it end?


I'm disappointed you chose to "...assume..." so much of what i might consider "wrong". To then surreptitiously relate that to suppositions and imaginings irrelevant to the specific, "homosexual relationships" seems a bit manipulative. Can you see that from my side? At the negotiating-table we might consider that "bad-faith-bargaing". Be that as it may, you've played your hand... Where to from here???

Do you believe "Homosexual Relationships" to be evil, and leading those involved to Hell? "IF" so, can you substantiate that--other than from biblical text? How do you see the Homosexual community as a part of our greater society? Warm regards, Roger

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Sam Harris
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Post by Sam Harris »

Roger Morrison wrote:
GIMR wrote:Hey Roger, I like Spong. I just started reading some of his stuff. I find it refreshingly amazing that a bishop can take such an honest look at his faith. This is the type of honest belief I've been looking for within my own walk. I cannot insist that Christianity is THE ONLY WAY (and boy have the effigies been hauled out at that one!), it's just MY WAY, my choice.

I wonder what is so frightening about admitting that what you see is merely your perception?


GIMR, good question. Could it be insecurity? Lack of confidence? Fear of the dark? The last not meant to be facetious. Rather 'dark' brings a tendency that compels folks to pull their blinds down, lock their doors and cover their heads until sun-up...

Suppositions; but en mass we're not adventurous, exploratory, creative, inventive nor thinkers... Generally speaking, we are conditioned to BELIEVE. Extremely so in LDSism where the "iron rod" rules. Just hang-on-tight, follow the leaders, and don't ask critical questions...

Threaten/challenge our beliefs, or the system that substantiates our beliefs, can do anything and everything to us, from cause embarrassement to make us kill; defensively AND offensively!

Such a pityful state of humanity, IMSCO, displays our faith-based Christianism to be diametrically opposed to the ways-and-means of Jesusism. Hence we flounder in an ineffectual philosophy scrambling to justify its existance by appealing to human weakness and fears while debilitating too many with guilt and self-doubt. In the case of LDSism they offer the one-and-only fix-all IF YOU Believe and OBEY. That too is frightening...

Yikes! They are threatening my beliefs!!!! How embarrassing :-) Warm regards, Roger


LOL. I have thought about this a lot, and I think that science, and all that it has brought into our lives has really been an affront on Christianity. That's why there's such a huge war against it, that's why there are folks in Christianity who are saying that global warming is a hoax. Why worry, Jesus will be here soon! Where in space is God? Can we still see God as being "up there" (up there is down on the other side of the planet, are they wrong, or are we?). Are cancer patients really being punished for sin? I mean, WTH, are we still stuck in such prosaic beliefs?

What about those folks down the street who pray to Allah? Should we be friends with them? How about those Buddhists?

I cannot for the life of me find where Jesus taught to hate and be suspicious of other people. Yet, we see this in fundamentalist Christianity. And since the Bible is supposed to be the WORD of God, it's ok to quote Paul, or Deuteronomy to make your point, and say Jesus said it. When asked to quote Jesus, you get a workout (the runaround).

I think that for many people, the role of religion is to provide spiritual safety in numbers. Since none of us are dead, and we don't know what comes next, it's reassuring to see people doing what you're doing, even if what you're doing is cruel and spiritually disenfranchises another. Instead of looking to see if your beliefs are indeed ethical, many turn to fantasies of the rewards they'll get in heaven to blot out the ring of their hypocrisy.

en mass we're not adventurous, exploratory, creative, inventive nor thinkers... Generally speaking, we are conditioned to BELIEVE.


The very first class I took in school this year said just that. We are conditioned to believe...even claims of not believing are in themselves a belief.

Extremely so in LDSism where the "iron rod" rules. Just hang-on-tight, follow the leaders, and don't ask critical questions...


And don't let your life pose a critical question to them, either. I have a friend who is LDS, and it seems that the only way I can see him these days is at an Family Home Evening. I go for the food, nothing else really "feeds" me there. Talks on the importance of tithing and missionary work just don't do it for me anymore, there are people out there starving in more ways than one, and this is all that can be discussed?

Well, the last dinner I was at, people recognized me from the old ward. To save the atmosphere (*gasp* apostate in our midst), I told a half-truth. I said that the reason why I was no longer LDS was because I was studying to become a pastor. The call has come, but I haven't answered yet, due to questions I pose about the content of my own character in such a vocation (I lack many things, patience being number one). Well, my friend who just loves to judge and analyze the world (who also cowers when I chew him out about it, but keeps doing it) has now held me to that. Since I'm studying to be a pastor, I need to do and behave as he sees fit according to his stringent LDS beliefs.

Perhaps I should have let the cat out of the bag and said the real reason(s) why I left the church. But that caused a three-ring-circus the last time.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. -Ghandi

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Sam Harris
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Post by Sam Harris »

Miss Taken wrote:Before I go out for the day.

One thought that comes to mind is whether or not Spong's works have any relevance today.

I think they do. Christianity over here is (other than in name only) very much dying on the vine.
Many can't relate to it in terms of the reality of their own culture and needs.


In this way I see Spong as trying to bridge the gap between today's scientific advances and what really is
a very antiquated and inaccessible culture such as is portrayed in the bible.

His message, and hopefully the message of Jesus of Nazareth is still the same though in dynamic terms.
The core message of Jesus to love others and yourself and in so doing love God is the same.
Everything else is just fluff.

Just a few thoughts.

Mary


So true, Mary. And yes, Christianity is dying on the vine for those who cannot shut off their minds when they leave church on sunday, who cannot let the cognitive dissonance and spiritual superiority complexes get in the way of what they see. Some people actually want the important questions answered, and traditional fundamentalist Christianity cannot offer those questions in any way that empowers and stresses the importance of the rest of mankind.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. -Ghandi

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