R.I.P. - William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 19 April 2006 0 Comments
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I have read many of your books and would like to pose
a simple question. I am a chemical engineer by trade
and my best friend is a Russian Orthodox minister.
What do you think Jesus would think of Christianity,
as it exists today? He started the process with a
tightly wound ball of ideas for living a
counter-cultural lifestyle in a very difficult time in
history. Since then those wonderful ideas have
"snowballed" for over two thousand years and are now a
huge mass called the Christian Church. Some things I
think Jesus would like. But other things,
particularly the elitism of each sect that only they
have the true "keys to the kingdom" would upset him.
This scientist and priest would like to hear your


Neither I nor anyone else is competent to speak for
Jesus. I do believe, however, it is the Church's duty
to measure itself from time to time against the one it
honors as its founder.

His life was powerful because he gave it away.
Institutional Christianity seems obsessed with
accumulating power. His love knew no limits and
rejected no one. Over its history the Church has
discriminated against Gentiles, women, people of
color, left handed people, mentally ill people and
homosexual people.

He invited all to come to him and the Church has
participated in religious wars, crusades, inquisitions
and anti-Semitism. The one redeeming reality of
church life is that we do seem to have the power to
reform ourselves from time to time. Reformation is
what keeps us a living body. The need for reformation
has never been greater.

John Shelby Spong

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