An Adventure At A Law School

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 16 December 2010 0 Comments
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It is more and more becoming my belief that Jesus shows us more about what humanity truly is than what divinity is. As I hopefully expand my Christian understandings, I am now 74, I find I am expanding my humanity. I call myself an existential Christian. Is this too limiting a theology?


Dear Swmbo,

I find your definition "spot on" as the English say. It is actually amusing to see how religious people through the ages convince themselves that they knew what divinity was and that they could actually define it. I wonder where they saw divinity, how they knew it was divinity and why they believed that the realm of the divine could actually be accessed by the human mind.

Divinity is a human word, created to describe a human experience. It is not a concept revealed from on high. It took me a lifetime to break this standard religious understanding, but I finally did and came out quite near to where you describe yourself as being. I now believe that divinity is a word we created to describe the fullness of humanity when we escape its limits. I have also become convinced that the way into divinity is identical with the journey into the self and that the way to be divine is to be fully human.

When I wrote Jesus for the Non-Religious, I took that concept and definition and used it as the lens through which I looked at Jesus of Nazareth. The result was, at least for me, salutary.

~John Shelby Spong




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