The Origins of the Bible, Part IV The Story of the Yahwist Document

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 9 April 2008 0 Comments
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I saw your interview on "Compass" with Geraldine
Doogue on Australian Broadcasting Company TV in 2001. It's hard
to describe how good it felt to hear your words and how that
interview led me to an indescribably wonderful freedom that I
still don't even understand. Anyway, something I've been curious
about - does your wife, Christine, share your views on
Christianity? And if there are differences, do they ever create
any tension between you two? And, second question, I had been in
a relationship with a fundamentalist Christian girl, and my
rather agnostic stance ultimately meant we couldn't be together.
In your experience how much difference in religion can the
average relationship handle?


I'm glad you saw the Geraldine Doogue program. I
probably received more mail from that program than any I've ever

You ask about whether Christine shares my views on
Christianity? Prior to my meeting her, she was very active in
her church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown, New
Jersey. She was twice elected to the Vestry and, as a volunteer,
she ran the entire Christian Education Program of her parish for
ages one to 99 years, she says. She also headed up the
Christian Education Commission for the Diocese of Newark.
Growing up in England, she was a cradle Anglican. She is a
person of deep Christian commitment, sound judgment and a keen

She serves now as my editor for both this column and
my books. She administers my professional life and accompanies
me everywhere I go. She is in every audience that I address and
in every church where I preach. I absolutely adore her and say
so every chance I get.

Does she share my perspective on Christianity? Not
any more than I share hers. We have worked together so long and
so closely that I honestly don't know who has influenced whom the
most. I only know that I could not accomplish half of what I do
had she not been in my life for the last 18 plus years. I had
been a widower for a year and a half when we got married and I
know what it means "to be born again."

In regard to your fundamentalist girlfriend and "how
much difference in religion can the average relationship handle?"
I think if one partner believes he or she has the truth and if
the other disagrees the other is wrong, or if one partner thinks
the other is going to hell, then that is too much to handle. If
your need to be right is greater than your need to love then the
relationship cannot help but be neurotic. Religion is usually
not the problem. The way religion is used and the role it plays
in a person's security system is.

Thank you for asking.

John Shelby Spong




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