The Origins of the New Testament, Part XIX: How the Synagogue Shaped the Gospel of Mark

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 8 April 2010 0 Comments
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Richard from Albuquerque, New Mexico, writes:

I read with great enthusiasm, Eternal Life: A New Vision. It moved me deeply and I found that our lives have some similarities. My mother passed on when I was nine and my father when I was thirteen. I sang in a church choir for over five years and I became a confirmed Episcopalian. I wasn't much into sports. I attended church regularly and found security and warmth in the sermons and the hymns that came my way. However, as I grew, I became, as you so well state, a member of the Church Alumni Association. I have read the Bible in its entirety as well as anyone without training can. I came away disheartened and confused. Our paths then went different ways. You pursued a good education while I took mundane, repetitive jobs that consisted of doing mostly what one was told and little thinking. It was through your lectures and later book on The Sins of the Scripture that I began to think and reason. I am now a very avid reader on things about Science, Religion, History and Human Secularism. Currently, I am into Alex Fillipenko's outstanding course on "Understanding the Universe." Why I waited until I had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel to start learning, I will never know. Some say it's better late than never. I strongly believe in evolution and I do have that wonderful feeling of being one with the universe. I do hope you have more books forthcoming. Perhaps with the help of your wife and others you might attempt some children's books. They are much more impressionable at their young ages. Thank you for your honest, open thought and keep your weekly newsletters coming.


Dear Richard,

Thank you for your letter and for the way in which you shared your life story. One of the justifications for writing a "spiritual autobiography," which is what my most recent book really is, is that I can chronicle the journey of many people other than myself. Your letter is a justification of that hope.

Thank you for the suggestion that Christine and I try our hand at children's books. I wish we had the talent to do that. Many people do and I hope others with that skill will respond to your invitation. There is a great need for this, but it's not in the scope of my expertise. I have a hard enough time responding to the religious questions of my 7 year old grandchildren who actually debate whether there is a God.< BR>

John Shelby Spong



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