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Discussion 3 to Meditation 223
Re: Bishop Spong's 12 Theses

by Joshuha Hauck-Whealton

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Re: Meditation 223

I have read most of John Shelby Spong's body of work, and I think I have a grip on what he's saying in this first thesis. What he means by Theism is the idea of God as a being or personality. Most people tend to understand God in human terms, as if he were a tremendously powerful human being. I think Spong believes that any such God died in the Holocaust (or the Soviet purges, or the Belgian congo, or ...) Theism is an idea we had before we realized we were only a speck in a vast universe, and we couldn't imagine anything so counterintuitive as a creator that wasn't basically like us.

He wants to find a new way of understanding this thing known as God. Not as some omnipotent universal monarch, but something much more alien and profound. He's looking to understand God as a process, a force, to use Tillich's words, "the ground of all being." Most of Spong's works have been an attempt to bring the ideas of theologians like Tillich that are only discussed in seminaries to the general public.

I'd like to quote from his books, but all the ones I own are currently packed away. His most recent is "Why Christianity Must Change or Die." (He's not one to mince words. A great deal of the fun went out of the Episcopal church when he retired.)