Eternal Life: A New Vision (2010)
In Eternal Life: A New Vision, a remarkable spiritual journey about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, Bishop John Shelby Spong reveals how he came to a new conviction about eternal life. God, says Spong, is ultimately one, and each of us is a part of that oneness. We do not live on after death as children who have been rewarded with heaven or punished with hell, but as part of the life and being of God, sharing in God’s eternity, which is beyond the barriers of time and space. Spong argues that the discovery of the eternal can be found within each of us if we go deeply into ourselves, transcend our limits and become fully human. By seeking God within, by living each day to its fullest, we will come to understand how we live eternally.
From Publishers Weekly
In this challenging, intellectually rigorous culmination of his body of theological work, retired Episcopal bishop Spong (Jesus for the Non-Religious) provides a lucid historical analysis of the development of human religious thought from the onset of self-conscious awareness to the present, and a compelling argument for the creation of a new religious paradigm. Offering deeply personal reflections on his own Christian journey and priestly career, Spong reviews a lifetime of passionate engagement with biblical study and with questions of faith, charting his growing discomfort with language that seemed limited, falsifying and inadequate. Arguing that modern scientific understanding necessitates dismissing outdated metaphors and assumptions by which faith seeks to calm human anxiety, Spong suggests an understanding of God not as a person, but as the process that calls personhood into being. Spong’s examination of the gospel resurrection accounts includes an intriguing interpretation of John’s portrayal of Jesus as a being so courageously present that he was open to the ultimate reality of life, love and being. This work, bound to be influential, offers new insights into religion’s big questions about life and death, making an invaluable contribution to both religious scholarship and faithful exploration.Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“John Shelby Spong, the reinterpreter of Christianity for the doubtful, retired as the Episcopal bishop of New Jersey in 2001 but not from his religious provocations. . . . People have to get beyond the idea of God as a heavenly judge who hands out rewards and punishment.”Deepak Chopra, author of The Third Jesus
“John Shelby Spong, the reinterpreter of Christianity for the doubtful, retired as the Episcopal bishop of New Jersey in 2001 but not from his religious provocations. . . . People have to get beyond the idea of God as a heavenly judge who hands out rewards and punishment,.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“This work, bound to be influential, offers new insights into religion’s big questions about life and death, making an invaluable contribution to both religious scholarship and faithful exploration.” Publishers Weekly
“Spong has spent his life and work making sense of this most fundamental human issue . . . His fans will find this spiritual autobiography fascinating, but so, too, should anyone interested in the still uncomfortable topics of death and mortality.” Booklist
“In Spong’s perpetual quest for truth and knowledge, he has transformed the enigmatic cosmic energy of the ‘big bang’ into an afterglow of human hope for the ages.” Daniel H. Gregory, M.D., Senior Attending Physician, Bassett Healthcare
“With subtlety and complexity, Spong promotes an idea of an ongoing existence beyond our physicality, one that entirely supercedes “religious” notions of Heaven or Hell and even conventional notions of God . . . Spong’s writing here as elsewhere is intelligent, engaged, comforting, and uplifting. ” Library Journal
“Eternal Life: A New Vision doesn’t actually give us a clear vision of eternal life at all. Spong would never do that…. Instead he frees us to dream a dream of what life, eternal or otherwise, might be.” Central Coast Express
“His courage, candor and intense awareness are unique gifts to people both inside and outside Christianity at this critical time in human and planetary history.” Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing
“Spong once again puts his intellectual money on common sense . . . Religion’s purpose, he claims, is “security, not Truth” – a key insight that demands, in turn, a set of wholly new visions. . . . Spong . . . [is] a unique visionary.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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