Jump to content

Who Took Up The Reins

Recommended Posts

Hi, I have literally just finished reading "Here I Stand" following a recommendation from a friend who suggested it would open up a fascinating new perspective of a strand of the Christian Church. He was not wrong! Having never ventured into "religious" discussion before I am amazed to read of Bishop Spong and his fight for a modern understanding of what Christ represented. I'd instantly say I'm a Spong fan even if I still don't quite understand what functions "prayer" and "worship" serve within this new understanding!! My mind is open however.


Of course the book ends with Bishop Spong's retirement and I'd initially be interested to know what happened next? Who filled the vacumn left by his retirement within the active organisation? How have the liberals fared against the conservatives worldwide. Please excuse my apalling ignorance and use of potential short cuts!!


Kind Regards, PhilD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...



I'm sorry, I don't have any proper answers for you. I'm not a 'christian' myself and have nothing to do with religion really, other than read books and participate in this forum. From what I see though, I do think Spong is on the right track when he says christianity must change or die - I do see it as dying out, albeit slowly, to the old conservative way of thinking and moving more toward a position or line of thought, more along the lines of progressive christianity.


I think the prolific websites and forums that are shedding light on the old ways of thinking and of understanding the bible in a less literal way, are really making a difference to christians around the world. However I must admit my only gauge is what appears on the internet, but there does seem to be a lot more information and encouragement on there concerning a less fundamental and literal way of interpreting christianity.


I don't know who took over from Spong or what the status may be of the Episcopalian church. I do hope that somebody like Spong continues his work.


I too am a Spong fan though, and enjoy reading his books and newsletter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Paul and Yvonne, many thanks for your feedback and apologises for the delay in responding.


I am currently reading Spong's "Jesus for the Non-religious" and will check out Borg after that.


It is interesting to me how politicians routinely play the "god" card (ref Santorum Iowa !) which I find slightly uncomfortable suspecting as I do it's aim is squarely at the traditionalists/conservatives. Cynical or what (or is it just me!!).


Anyway you're feedback is re-assuring, I'm in the same boat as you Paul and would hope the "progressives" ultimately prevail for the sake of all of us!!!


Kind Regards, Phil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

dear phild-


forgive the lower case, im typing right handed while holding my laptop up.


you brought up the issues of prayer and worship. id like to share with you some of my thoughts.


i was raised to believe that god was 'there' and we are here. two different places. in order to get something you must ask for it. if you ask for it hard enough you increase your chances of being heard and getting it. using the example of praying for a sick relative. dear god, please make my grandpa well (said over and over with increased fervor), the idea is to get gods attention, inform god of the issue and, by asking for it enough, god will eventually 'decide' a course of action. i know it sounds childish but it really boils down to it.


many would say that god already knows of grandpa's illness and has his plan for grandpa anyway. if that is so does the fervent prayer serve to advocate for grandpa for a 'revised' course of action?


my journey has led me to a rather different view of 'god' and the way things might work. it is developing all the time but, like all of us, i have invented my version of the unknowable and it works for me.


the aramaic alaha is not a something within the universe. it is not somewhere, it does not engage in the suspension of natural laws for supernatural intervention or display, it is not a being and it certainly isn't gendered. it cannot be named as though it was related to any of the descriptives previous. the language of yeshua was aramaic. one of the most common words in aramaic that would be associated with the universal creator is alaha. alaha is not a name, that would immediately limit, alaha is so much more, in fact it is the sum of all there is. alaha is, literally, everything. blow that through the cobwebs around the limiting word we use of god that implies so many subtle and even blatant perimeters. everything is just that, everything, no outside of itself, there is only in. everything that has ever been, is or will be in the ever expanding enormity of the universe and even in potential parallel universes. all of that, yes, everything. us included.


the entirety of the physical universe adheres to universal laws, that's why they are called that. there isn't a suspension of those laws for all of the obvious reasons, the universe is physical right down to it's subatomic parts. supernatural beings and events don't bring anything useful or complimentary to the magnificence of the universe. such disney concepts only shrink the already extraordinary into campfire stories in our own very distant past. no one has ever seen a devil, a satan, a demon, an angel, cherubim or seraphim or a pixie named tinker bell. ever. they may have really wanted to but it never happened. period. we don't need that and alaha/everything certainly doesn't.


here's my leap of faith; alaha/everything is utterly aware of everything that makes it up. everything. that vibratory awareness, perhaps what we call the 'god particle' is a connective something that might best be called the many facets of love. the universal laws stay in place without halting but the whole thing is alive. being alive it doesn't need to be informed of grandpa's illness. grandpa will either survive the illness or die from it, as he will eventually anyway, based upon the universal laws.


enter prayer. love is collectable and aimable. it is like setting aside raindrops for a specific task other than run off or absorption in the ground.the rain falls in its billions of drops but it can be collected for specific use. love is always there, it can do the same. this is prayer both singly and collectively. it isn't having enough of us yelling first for god's attention and then instructing him toward our wishes, it is much more beautiful than that, it is us engaging in the process of aiming love toward another part of everything, like us, and seeing if that aimed love will overwhelm the already acceptable trajectory and alter it in another direction. if planets can collide, even violently (and they do) and if stars die in each of their time (ours will) then life and death of all like pieces of the universe have the same course. it is tragic to us based upon loss and circumstance but i the greater picture it merely adheres to the greater universal laws. we are a living, complex organisms. we are subject to all of the potentials for death that goes with it. we are social creatures and subject to all the potentials that go with that. none of this is borne out of magic, it is borne out of the reality of our existence. it goes with the territory. prayer is the collective use of love to challenge a given trajectory of as common a piece of everything as are the pieces aiming the love. they are all one, they are all desirous of the ultimate best for the whole. prayer does not create miracles. prayer just loves. love does what it must.


praying alone is really what we call meditation. collective is the beauty of the scattered coming together and behaving together,


where two or more of you are, there will i be also.


pretty cool.


worship is very akin to that but seeks the collective to reach out toward one another as a body of love as opposed to having a single focus by the many. like a huge net across itself.


these are my thoughts. they work for me.


my very best net of love thrown out toward you all!



Link to comment
Share on other sites


where two or more of you are, there will i be also.

pretty cool


Donald, as an aside, I heard an interesting explanation of this verse recently. It was pointed out that it occurs in the context of conflict resolution. It was proposed that the spirit of Jesus is present when people are gathered trying to resolve differences. I thought that was cool.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

George- Thank you for your thoughts. They do augment my belief. Perhaps an addition might be this. Harmony is only possible in multiples. We are designed for community. A single voice cannot harmonize with itself. This doesn't detract from the beauty of the melody of the one. In harmony we gain the increase of potential that can serve to accentuate the original melody with vastly greater nuance and, even, power. Increase this from duet to trio, trio to quartet, quartet to full chorus and we have the last movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service