Watching the Demise of a Great Institution

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 9 April 2009 0 Comments
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I am 87 years old and first discovered your writings within the last ten years. I've read all your recent books — some twice — and find them challenging and inspiring, but I have a question. You frequently exhort your reader to "live life to the fullest," to "love wastefully," and "to be all you can be." There is clearly a distinction in your mind between "living life to the fullest" and "to be all you can be," but it is not obvious to me. In my mind they are pretty much the same. Can you explain how they differ (or direct me to a reference in your books that explains it)?


Dear Barden,

Congratulations on reaching the age of 87. I hope your journey through life has been fulfilling.

I'm not sure that living fully and being all that you can be are substantially different. I was trained as a Tillichian theologian and life or living was identified with the Spirit (I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life). Love was identified with Jesus (O Love of God Incarnate) and Being was the name of God (The Ground of all Being). So I think of life, love and being as a modern way of defining what the Church originally meant by the Trinity. Clearly, however, if one lives fully, one is being all one can be.

Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Live well!

John Shelby Spong




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