Easter: In Need of Reinterpretation!

Essay by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 16 April 2003 0 Comments
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Question

Have you ever been scared? When people criticize your ideas, how do you remain courageous enough to keep your faith?

Answer

My humanity is completely intact. I get scared often and I bleed whenever I am cut. My passion, however, is truth. By this I do not mean any particular version of truth, but truth itself. In the search for ultimate truth, all partial truths must sooner or later be cast aside. Unfortunately, churches and religious groups pretend that their particular understanding of God and God are identical. It is not so! God is beyond the capacity of all human words to capture. It was Paul who reminded us that we all we can do now is see "through a glass darkly." In religious debate and criticism the fight is always about our partial truths perceived though our personal lens. That is never enough. God is mystery. We walk into that mystery daily. We delude ourselves, however, if we think we have or someday will arrive. Faith is ultimately to continue the journey. That is the privilege of discipleship. It take the quality of constancy more than that of courage.

 
I think it is interesting to note that the people who take offense and who send hostile messages are always frightened religious people. I have received 16 death threats in my lifetime. All of them came from Bible quoting true believers. I have never had a Buddhist or an atheist threaten my life. I find that rather revealing.

 
John Shelby Spong

 

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