Wales: Where Visions of a Christian Future Are Being Born

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 24 June 2009 0 Comments
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Riding my faithful donkey around La Mesa, I was struck (tense used for theological purposes only) with the similarity between you and Dorothy Sayers. She said much of what you say. There is a 40 to 60 year difference in time. You both say the same word and in many cases the same interpretation. She always claimed orthodoxy and argued it well. Her "Image of God" and "The Other Six Deadly Sins" are as compelling today as they were then. Thank you for carrying the torch — 'tis a pity that few know how far the fire extends.


Dear Ted,

Thank you for your letter. I have not read Dorothy Sayers in years, but I always enjoyed her when I did. One hardly ever knows what is the source of an idea that one thinks is one's own, so it is quite possible that I have been significantly influenced by Dorothy Sayers or that both of us were influenced by some third person a bit farther back in time.

My known influences are Paul Tillich, who taught Theology at both Union Seminary in New York and Harvard Divinity School; John A. T. Robinson, the Bishop of Woolwich and New Testament Professor at Cambridge University; and Michael Donald Goulder, New Testament professor at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. Only Michael Goulder of the three remains alive today.

We are all dependent on those who have gone before us. The reason any of us can see beyond the typical line of vision is that some of us have been privileged to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Enjoy your faithful donkey!

~John Shelby Spong




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