Log in | Sign up | Contact us | Cancel my account | Get help

Progressing Spirit: Explorations on Theology, Spirituality and the News

Welcome to the JohnShelbySpong.com website and the New Progressing Spirit Column!

Join us as we transition toward and co-create Progressing Spirit: Explorations on Theology, Spirituality and the News, a dynamic new column with rotating authors, offered to subscribers each week and an international society dedicated to perpetuating and expanding on the work and theology of Bishop Spong.

For those seeking to experience Christianity in a new and vibrant way, Bishop John Shelby Spong and his endorsed successors offer fresh spiritual ideas. Over the past four decades, Bishop Spong has become one of the definitive voices for progressive Christianity. As a member of Bishop Spong’s online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives, access to message boards which will connect you with other believers in exile, and answers to your questions in our weekly Q and A.



We will continue to maintain this site indefinitely and although there will be some transitions as we move toward a rotating team of Bishop Spong successors, our vision is that this site will be the foundation of an international society formed to perpetuate and advance his thoughts. All subscribers will continue will have exclusive access to Bishop Spong’s Essay Archives. These hundreds of essays, written by John Spong exclusively for this site over a 16 year period, are excellent for use in research, in churches, study groups, and education.


Click here for a list of our new authors and their bios!



Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, while visiting in Marquette, Michigan I suffered a stroke. The date was September 10th. Since that time I have worked hard to regain my strength. I have been quite successful in that and now have no trouble walking or using my arms. It has been a learning experience. Health is a major demand of my life. I still use my running track each day for about three miles, so I feel most fortunate. The book I was writing on “Charting a New Reformation” will meet its deadline and be at Harper by the due date, the first of March, 2017. I entertained returning to my column, but as the time goes by I no longer have the strength to keep up that schedule, so I have informed Fred Plumer of Progressive Christianity.Org that I will not be able to return to that task. I write to notify you, my readers, and to enable Fred to begin the process to choose a successor.

That is not an easy thing to do for I have loved that column and the relationship I have had with so many of you. I realize that I can no lo longer write, edit and send a column a week out to my readers. I have written this column for sixteen years and it demands an intensity that I no longer profess. Even aided by my wife, who edited every column I ever wrote, cannot make up the difference. So we have decided to give it up.

I want to thank you all for the many letters I have received. More than thirty thousand letters have come to me since the stroke. There was no way I could acknowledge them or even respond to them, but I read every one of them and was warmed by the experience. I am now in my 86th year of life. It has been a good life and I am proud of it all. I wish I could have finished on my schedule, but that was not to be.

I ask you to give your attention to the following letter written with my blessing by my colleagues at Progressive Christianity about the future. I hope it will be the start of a major new contribution to religious journalism,





Dear Friends,

Over the last few months we have had time to think about what we could do if Jack Spong could not return to writing his regular column for us. We have worked with our team to consider what we might do if this became the eventuality, and I am very excited about what we’ve been able to put together. As a subscriber to the newsletter you have been on the inside circle as we have charted this new reformation. It has been fun, challenging, and sometimes even a little scary going into these uncharted waters. I hope you have gained great value out of it.

The next big step in the new reformation is to put what we have been talking about into widespread practice, and that’s where the next phase of this subscription newsletter comes into play. We have been able to assemble a team of some of the best and brightest authors / theologians / and movement leaders out there today who are taking these bold concepts and enlightenments and putting them into practice in the streets, pews, and on social media.

We have a few well known national lecturers and authors such as Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, Rev. Gretta Vosper, Rev. David Felten, and a close personal friend to Bishop Spong, Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, who was the first person elected bishop in the Episcopal to have his election turned down by the house of Bishops since 1875 on strictly theological grounds. In addition to those veteran voices, we have some of the most compelling leaders of the social media movement out there today, such as “Science” Mike McHargue, Rev. Mark Sandlin, Eric Alexander, and Rev. Roger Wolsey. If you haven’t heard of any of these folks I assure you they are out there in a big way helping to lead the next generations along the new reformation. These authors will be on a regular rotating schedule to write a series of columns that will not be published anywhere else, for our new Bishop Spong inspired and endorsed series, called Progressing Spirit. We envision this series forming a virtual society around the world that serves to perpetuate and expand upon his thoughts.

Over the coming weeks you will hear more from my team about this exciting new transition, and our cast of contributors. We will continue to repost some of the Spong essays of the past and maybe even an occasional new one if that becomes possible. From here I welcome you to grow with us through our next phase as I believe it will be greatly valuable and entertaining to you; but also because I know your support will be essential in growing our message exponentially around the world from here on out. By continuing to be a subscriber, you will be supporting the infinitely important work that Bishop Spong has shared with our world.

Fred Plumer, ProgressiveChristianity.org



Follow JohnShelbySpong on Twitter




The Birth of Jesus coverRe-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World CoverFourth Gospel high quality


The Latest Essays and Q & A:

16 November 2017: Participating in the Song of Life

       By Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D.   …………….After days of labor, …………….mute in my consternations, …………….I hear my song at last, …………….and I sing it. As we sing, …………….the day turns, the trees move. …………………………………..“I go among trees and sit still,” Wendell Berry The first lines of John’s gospel proclaim that “in …

Read More…

9 November 2017: A New Template for Religion: A Conversation with Michael Morwood, Part 3 – Worship, Prayer, & the Other Side of the Story

      Rev. David Felten What follows in interview form is the final installment of three columns inspired by a presentation Michael Morwood offered at the Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane, Queensland, in 2016. In this final segment, Morwood offers a new perspective on worship and prayer – along with some concluding thoughts on …

Read More…

2 November 2017: Earth, Air, Fire, Water in Struggle with the Evils of our Times

      Rev. Matthew Fox Last night I returned from a conference in Jamaica about Men and Masculinity—they are dealing with a veritable epidemic of violence among young men and killings of men by men. Not unlike El Salvador and many other places around the globe. Here at home we have our own violence, …

Read More…

Visit Essay Archive

News Items:

8 April 2015: Jesus the Cold Case – Documentary with Bishop Spong

AFTA Award for Best Documentary 2012, Winner Silver and Bronze Medals at The New York Festivals International Film and Television Awards. In his native New Zealand Bryan Bruce writes, directs and hosts the internationally successful crime show THE INVESTIGATOR in which he re- examines unsolved crimes In 2010 he decided to apply his criminal investigative …

Read More…

14 January 2015: Newly Released Book of Essays on The Birth of Jesus by Bishop Spong

Click here to purchase! We are excited to announce this just released book of essays by Bishop John Shelby Spong on Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus. While Luke’s narrative, the most detailed account of the birth of Jesus, is lyrical and inspiring, in The Birth of Jesus, Spong persuasively demonstrates it is allegory. Layer …

Read More…

22 August 2014: The Fourth Gospel in Paper Now Available for Pre-Order

Rescuing John’s Gospel from Its Creedal Captivity John Shelby Spong, bestselling author and popular proponent of a modern, scholarly and authentic Christianity, argues that this last gospel to be written was misinterpreted by the framers of the fourth-century creeds to be a literal account of the life of Jesus when in fact it is a …

Read More…

Visit News Archive

In Need of a Good Word?

We encourage you to show your support for positive and progressive Christian views by becoming a part of Bishop Spong's growing online community. You'll receive a new column each week on topics in social justice and spirituality that matter most.

Join the Movement

Free Q&A Email

Sign up for Bishop Spong's FREE weekly Q&A email.

Browse by Date

Browse our monthly archives:

Connect on Facebook