• Are You a Spongian?

    Essay by Eric Alexander on November, 1 2018

    In finding the good Bishop, I was able to embark on a great catharsis. Finally someone understood how I felt.

    Finally someone was saying exactly the things I was experiencing. Finally I felt validated. At that time the atheists weren’t scratching my itch, and neither were Buddhists or the new-thought spirituals. I had certainly been studying those paths for some time prior, and had gleaned much wisdom from them, but there was still something about my Christianity that needed to be resolved before I could experience my next metamorphosis. 

I couldn’t shed the paradigm I was raised with without a proper evolutionary process. It was a system that I’d seen so much good come from. A system with so many loving and selflessly giving folks. A system where people took risks to their own personal security and treasure to help others who they didn’t even know. A system with a rich tradition of community. A system where a revolutionary like Jesus could be exalted. There was something about that system that I wanted to retain; while releasing all the frustration that had built up around it.

  • Jack on Prayer

    Essay by Rev. Gretta Vosper on August, 23 2018

    It was a delight to be at Chautauqua Institution in June to hear Bishop John Shelby Spong (Jack) explore the theses presented in his latest and last, last book Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today. Over the course of four days, he shared his perspectives on Christianity in a style that is exquisitely his own. Taking questions from dedicated “Women” and “Men” microphones, the integrity with which he approaches his work and those intent on wrestling with it was, as always, apparent. He would not let his audience off the hook. He would not allow them to be content with the easy, well-trod paths up the mountain. His cajoling impatience is his invitation to us to raise our own rallying cry, even if we don’t quite know what to rally around yet. He is content to shake the bejeezus out of our preconceptions and then get out of the way so that we might find our own path.

  • How are your Church investments doing?

    Essay by Eric Alexander on August, 9 2018

    Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future of the Church. It is an institution I love, yet it is also one which I harbor frustration for because of its resistance to adapt. Now I do realize that I’m referring to the Church here as an it, as a single entity, as opposed to what it actually is, a large and diverse community of denominations, pastors, board members, lay leaders, parishioners, and infrastructure. Similar to the stock market, which is made up of individual stocks, investors, and trading floors, we often refer to psycho-social institutions like this as a single entity, “i.e., the market.”

  • Ready, Set…RECEIVE!

    Essay by Lauren Van Ham on June, 7 2018

    The June sun was shining, but the whipping wind had us under hats and hoods, huddled close to hear the Naturalist’s instructions, “These flowers just poked out of snow last week.  Up here, Summer turns to Fall by mid-August.  Tundra takes hundreds of years to grow and one sloppily-placed hiking boot can destroy it all.” Then, he pointed across the Alpine carpet, to a collection of immense boulders and we began – adults, grandparents, and children (I was one of those) – hopping rock to rock.  A few paused, using their telephoto lenses to capture the blooms mere centimeters wide; the athletic made it into a game of how quickly they could “gazelle” from one rock to the next; and others moved with deference to the altitude, reaching for each inhale of thin air.  Other species – marmots, elk, birds – might have been looking on quizzically, but we did all we could to not touch our feet to the strong, fragile life below.