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24 November 2016: A New Christianity, a New Prayer Bishop Spong Style

“My goal in life is to pray without ceasing”. Bishop John Shelby Spong In his book A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How A New Faith is Being Born, Bishop Spong addresses multiple issues worthy of further consideration especially because the coming year 2017, marks the 500th anniversary …

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Q & A:

If the Virgin Birth is not true, then how could Christ, in his completely human conceived state, accomplish salvation for mankind?

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17 November 2016: Does the Religious Faith of a Supreme Court Justice Matter?

In President Obama’s recent nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court, a new reality forced its way into our consciousness. With the resignation of Justices David Souter in 2009 and John Paul Stevens in 2010, the last representatives of Protestant Christianity — by far the largest religious …

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Q & A:

I love the column — thank you for the insights. I am a science nerd — I taught and worked in the field of science all my life. I am also working on a degree in theology. I took my first biology classes about 46 years ago. When I learned about Darwin, I had an ah-ha moment. If the human species lives according to the model of the survival of the fittest, we will become extinct. That is part of the model that is often overlooked. Every organism must successfully fill a niche to survive. Only those organisms that learn the "law of cooperation" will ultimately win the day. That is what Jesus was trying to teach us. It is all about relationship — not domination.

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10 November 2016: Prejudice: An American Reality and an American Tragedy

It is time that we as a nation stop pretending and face the facts as they are. The evidence is overwhelming. Despite concentrated efforts to perfume intolerance under code words like “states’ rights,” “voter fraud,” “conservative values” and even “religious freedom,” this country is still caught in a web of ancient prejudices. In our public …

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Q & A:

I have read in a number of places that the books in the New Testament were not written by the people named. Is this true? Were the actual authors of Matthew, Mark, and the other gospels among the twelve disciples of Jesus?

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3 November 2016: Selling the Story

As Bishop Spong continues to recover, we are pleased to have as guest author this week Gretta Vosper. Attila the None The headlines are pretty clear. Both Pew Research Center and the Public Religion Research Institute have told us that people, especially young people, aren’t so much avoiding church as not even thinking it is …

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Q & A:

How do we know when God is speaking to us?

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27 October 2016: Hospitality between I and Thou, A Meditation on Bishop Spong’s Thesis #9: Ethics

I need to speak candidly with you about hospitality, perhaps the most iconic of Christian values and one of the easiest to go on attributing to the historical Jesus in spite of how much else has been stripped away from his biography. We need to discuss this because of the scary things people have been …

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Q & A:

What would an expurgated version of the Nicene Creed look like when its archaic imagery has been replaced?

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20 October 2016: Bishop Spong and My Painting

I am really not comfortable writing this article. There is a sense I am writing an obituary and nothing could be further from the truth. Bishop Spong is a beloved friend and he is apparently doing well in his recovery. I suppose I am a little nervous knowing that he will be reading what I …

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Q & A:

"What is a miracle? Do you believe in miracles?"

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13 October 2016: Thanks to Bishop Spong

Have you ever been pressured by friends or family to buy into today’s modern evangelical spin on Christianity? Or, have you ever been pressured not to share the latest scientific discoveries or academic scholarship for fear of disrupting the simple faith of others? As a child I was sent to Christian school and bible study …

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Q & A:

An eight-year-old girl in my congregation has a father who has cancer and will likely die soon. She told a family member that she knew her father would not die because she was praying “really hard” to God. How would you respond to this child?

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6 October 2016: Responding to Bishop Spong’s 12 Principles and the Future of Religion

Dear Faithful Readers: Bishop Spong is now home in New Jersey and continues to recuperate from his stroke. Until he is back to his writing we will continue to publish Weekly Essays, some from his treasure trove of past essays and some from guest authors. This week we are pleased to offer you this article …

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Q & A:

Hearing you in public and reading your wisdom inspires me to reconsider my Christian upbringing in a more progressive way, thank you.

The Cross, an instrument of death, repels me as a barbaric way to symbolize Christianity.  Were a modern day Jesus or a female equivalent to die from gunfire, would it be appropriate for the resulting places of worship to feature guns on top of their buildings, for religious leaders to wear guns around their neck, for the guns to be featured in earrings and other accessories, all for honoring the new messiah?

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29 September 2016: Charting a New Reformation, Part XXXVII – Thesis #11, Life After Death (continued), Survival is the Essence of Life

It was in the Amazon rain forest that I first discovered just how deeply survival dominates every living thing. Sunlight and water are the prizes which guarantee the survival of plant life. So in that rain forest I saw vines that would snake across the forest floor until they came to the darkest part of …

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Q & A:

Perhaps this letter has been gestating for some time. One day several years ago, my doctor (a devout Jew) asked me if I thought Jesus was the “real” son of God. My answer (as I awaited the bolt from heaven) was that no, I thought that his life was of such astounding wholeness that people designated him that way.

Then came your support/endorsement of Gretta Vosper (then I read her books). I’d read your book, A New Christianity for a New World, as soon as it came out. Then came your discussion in your weekly articles calling for a new reformation and Bingo! I was not crazy or a heretic. I have never believed that God would come down and heal one person because of an abundance of someone’s incessant prayers. Why heal one and not another? Why stave off a storm from one location and have it afflict another? Why are these and so many other things attributed to God? Well you gave voice to all my thoughts and doubts. I understand what you are saying about the new liturgies to encompass these new insights and I can’t wait. BUT, what are we to do in the meantime? Most prayers invoke a God who doesn’t act in that way, but I am still called to prayer.

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22 September 2016: Charting a New Reformation, Part XXXVI – Thesis #11, Life After Death

“The traditional understanding of life after death in Western Christianity was created on the premise of human uniqueness. Human beings were understood to be a special creation, made in the image of God, and endowed with an eternal soul. That perspective has not only been challenged, but destroyed by modern scholarship. Charles Darwin showed us …

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Q & A:

Teach me to pray. I have read Why Christianity Must Change or Die and it has been a great help to me as I could never get my head around the Bible. For the last 30 years I have followed faithfully eight of the Ten Commandments. When I become angry I sometimes swear and, like your book explains, I think the Fourth Commandment has never been followed.

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