Spong ‘n Me

March 4, 2007 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

 Bishop John Spong’s new book out is called “Jesus for the Non-Religious.” His weekly email column has inspired me over the years but his current column about this book makes me wonder. I still agree with his view of Christianity but now it seems an intolerant attitude is creeping in between the lines. That same attitude riles me about the conservative/traditionalists. It’s my way or the highway. I wonder if we can experience a fulfilling journey no matter what path we walk.

It was Easter Sunday 1992 when I felt the strong call to start attending church and I eagerly attended every week. I would feel the Spirit speaking to me throughout the service. I was baptized some months later after completing the required study. My journey began a short time later while taking a two year intensive bible study. I began it on a very conservative, literalist path but things began to change.

As I studied more, my views expanded. When I read my first Spong I was disturbed. I mentioned in a sermon that if Spong walked in right then I wasn’t sure if I’d shake has hand or punch him in the nose. What he said resonated with me yet at the same time, it rocked my fledgling faith. My faith eventually expanded and I experienced freedom and inspiration in the books of Spong, Marcus Borg and Tom Harpur among others. I came to realize a fulfilling relationship with God. Christ became real and lived in me. I was excited and eager that others feel the joy too.

Seeking a route to the Orient, Christopher Columbus set out over the ocean and was out of sight of land for weeks. I bet he questioned if he was truly on the right “path” even though he was initially sure. That question was answered when he reached landfall. I also wonder if I am on the right path. When will I reach a landfall to check my bearings? Like Columbus, will I discover something new? 

A Christian right wing website came to me that shot barbs at the Emerging Church movement. I was deeply angered. I quickly contacted my circle of fellow travelers and expressed my indignation. One traveler jarred me saying that she felt that while the site was intolerant, she felt Spong was now showing hints of intolerance too.  I had to think about that. I was jarred again by a response to a discussion I posted on Wondercafé. Was I really as intolerant as the people I was angered with? This was certainly a chance to check my bearings.

There are many paths to enlightenment and that is an important foundation of the Emerging Church. I also believe the growing numbers on the path of the Emerging Church will help discover the realm of One Spirit. Like Spong and others I am eager for people to share this path. What I have to remember is that there are many paths to enlightenment. I can only share the light of my path so other paths may be lit too. The important thing spiritually is simply to be on the journey. The Spirit will lead us. I must remember what Jesus taught me in Matthew 7: 3&4 (TEV):

Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, “Please take the speck out of your eye,” when you have a log in your own eye?

Ouch! God’s light starts with me after all. Doesn’t it?

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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