As I sit on the train, I am trying to look for someone on the Internet that is a liberal Christian, but dislikes Bishop Spong. Unfortunately, doesn't look like its going to happen.
John Shelby Spong is a retired Episcopalian bishop who is a prominent figure in progressive Christian circles. He is also prominent in conservative religious circles, not only because he is the polar opposite of them, but he is a publicly outspoken ENEMY of them.
His 'scholarship' (I use quotation marks not because it is not scholarship, but because he claims it to be infinitely intelligent in a nauseatingly arrogant manner) has made many people, religious or not, think about their traditions differently, among those people being myself. When I discovered his ministry I thought about my tradition of Anglicanism in a different way, and began to use more of my imagination with regards to theology.
I suppose, though, that the reason that I came across his ministry in the first place is because I was trawling through stuff on the Internet regarding fundamentalism and how bad it is. In this way, Spong's message is very attractive and accessible, because it puts forward an intense hatred for fundamentalism...
...but it is just that, HATRED.
He has become obsessed with fundamentalism, and how much he hates it. Subscribing to his weekly email column, I regularly receive paragraphs of '...I loathe fundamentalism because... I despise conservative Catholicism when...' and intense negativity that never seems to stop. I hate to break it to you, mate, but spewing hate at fundamentalism is not exactly a hard thing to do. It is the easy way out for a 21st century Christian ministry, and millions of people flock to him because of this easy bag of insults.
What is even worse, is that anyone who disagrees with the guy seems to be in his eyes, on par with a fundamentalist. Anyone who disagrees with him, in his eyes, is actually evil. Well, John, here's the thing... you don't seem to realise that in being obsessed with fundamentalism, you have absorbed their toxic traits. The same judgemental, vicious, vitriol rhetoric that perpetuates almost exclusively American circles, has become your style of religious attack dog politics all the while attempting to drag the whole world into American religious problems. Anyone who disagrees with you is an evil, vile human being who deserves to be sent to hell... (even though you don't seem to believe in it, that is well and truly the way you act).
Yet it seems that he has perpetuated the view that if you are not in 100% agreement with him, you must be some kind of lunatic. Great, how very like the grace of God!
I don't see God, that delivered his people out of slavery, condemning people publicly just for saying something a little bit left of centre. I don't see God, that delivered Elijah out of severe depression, being more concerned with peoples silly words than with their actions. I don't see God, who created YOU, Bishop Spong, spewing hate like post-hangover vomit all over slightly more conservative people.
Maybe it's only because he is a little bit senile that he is unbelievably arrogant and giving a toxic 'easy way out' ministry, but that doesn't excuse him from acting the way he does towards people he doesn't like. I thought that was exactly the mentality he was trying to eradicate...?
Well, honestly, I am glad I'm not an American and can distance myself from this bullshit because of that. In the meantime, remember that God loves him too...
... as well as fundamentalists...
...yeh I know. Didn't tell you I understood God's grace.
I shall attach a video that is completely irrelevant.