John Shelby Spong, R.I.P.

Posted: September 12, 2021 by Ty in Current Events, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

Those who are in the journey of something new emerging within the death of Christendom. That is the Christianity that has been more about power and control, than the gospel teachings of Jesus, lost a unique wisdom teacher today. It is not unique, that this thought process would emerge out of Anglicanism (or as his tradition would be dubeed, Episcopalian) that seeks to inquire, bringing together the dialogue partners of faith, reason, scripture and tradition together. Especially one, that traversed many ways a secular world wrestled with, and celebrated the diversity of the Imageo Dei (while churchdom lagged behind in some circles).

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "BISHOP JOHN SHELBY SPONG June 16, 1931 Spetember 12, 2021 Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those ofus who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed."

Bishop Spong (his books listed here), journey began with a passionate love of scripture. The stories of the Holy Mystery with their creation (and vice versa), it was the story re-told in his memoir of being gifted a KJV bible that I could resonate with in my own faith journey a few years ago. But it was not my first encounter with the Bishop. I was barely into my time back into churchdom as an adult, stumbling through discovering how to teach Sunday School, being supported by mentors in the church to join the Alberta Mentors Foundation for Youth, that I begam my confirmation journey while a studnet at Mount Royal College. Part of this journey was discussing one of his recent books, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, an intriguing introduction to explore what it meant to be a member of church, to understand a declaration of faith.

What did it mean?

For those who have served with me in ministry (and the various contexts I define being in ministry within my life), it truly was giving permission to be curious. To explore the why behind beliefs, values, supposed morals, visions, missions and mandates. To be able to look behind what groups (sacred or secular) saw as their “sacered cows” or the uniquitous, well that is just how we’ve alwasy done it, and allow the still small voice to inspire… inspire to understanding. Inspire to serve and see the blessing of other as a wonderful creation with full and inherent worth.

Many of this was alreay in place in my life,

but this exploration opened up what many view as static to be alive.

For those who have followed my life story, read Soul Ripples, and the reflective posts that followed, know that the ide of the three phases (I would term books) of life that Bishop Spong shared aided in shaping my health recovery. It was a hard and grateful time of cure, but grieiving of loss of the path I had been on. This simple idea is what came through to begin to unpack that my life is a trilogy, and simply book one had ended, on a cliff hanger, like an old movie serial…

As Bishop Spong’s third book closes, he joins the grand tea party (which he may or may not appreciate the metaphor), my second book is moving from prologue into chapters….

And I simply wonder, where the Spirit will guide next?

Thank you, Bishop, for being apart of the theological dialogue of my life, with my experience, other scholars and practicitoners, coming together to be wrestled with in finding my own Via Media, of belonging for all within what is being birthed anew as institutional church out of empire, out of political and financial power is dying…

What resurrects, is shaped by us as the body of Christ.

To follow more of the thought leaders visit Progressing Spirit

Perhaps, it is time, to find the time to shape a new book…

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