As a subscriber, you will receive our weekly publication offering a rotation of contributors and topics, and have inside access to a variety of innovative forums and resources.  Members of Progressing Spirit will also have access to our full libary of over thousands essays by Bishop Spong.  Below are some unlocked samples from each regular contributor to give you an idea of the types of content we deliver each week.
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How much should we teach our children about the Bible?

Essay by Cindy Wang Brandt on October, 10 2019

Some of the most egregious acts in civilization find their justification in Scripture, from genocide to slavery to deadly homophobia. History proves that the Bible, read with nefarious hermeneutics, in the hands of powerful figures can cause catastrophe.

Wild Courtship-Primal Speech

Essay by Rev. Matthew Syrdal on September, 5 2019

All nature was designed for revelation. At least that’s what indigenous peoples, the Israelites, our church Fathers, and the Celts believed. Jesus himself, like Moses and the prophets Elijah and John the Baptizer, strode deep into the heart of the world, fasting for a vision—revelation.

A New State Religion Called Love

Essay by Rev. Jaqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. on November, 7 2019

The Christmas story is the greatest story ever told. It’s why we’re still telling it two millennia later. We’re telling it all around the world. The story of God who loves the world enough to come all the way down to be present in the world, not as a soldier, but as a teeny, tiny, vulnerable infant.

Why The Church Must Die – Part 1

Essay by Rev. Jessica Shine on October, 24 2019

The church isn’t just dying. In many parts of the United States, it is already dead. At least, its impact is. The pews are still warm, the offering plates clanking with coins, and the bodies are present. However the church itself is wasting away and has become irrelevant.

Reflections on my Interactions with Bishop Spong

Essay by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox on March, 2 2017

I first learned of Bishop Spong’s prophetic work and his work with the Jesus seminar over 34 years ago while I was still a Dominican priest working in the Chicago area. To hear of an Episcopal bishop who was approaching the Scriptures with a critical sense of questioning and scholarship and who was supporting gay rights and women’s rights was, needless to say, a breath of fresh air. When Bishop Spong invited me out to Newark to lead a day retreat with his clergy I was pleased to be invited and I recall my opening line to him when I entered his car at the airport: “We heretics need to stick together,” I said. I don’t recall his demurring in any way. Following my day-long presentation (which included circle dancing and I was pleased to see a Bishop participating in such), Bishop Spong said to me: “Usually people leave at lunch time as they are allowed to do but this day was so exciting everyone stayed until the end.”

Participating in the Song of Life

Essay by Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D. on November, 16 2017

The first lines of John’s gospel proclaim that “in the beginning was the Word,” and that “all things came into being through the Word.”

We can hear these words literally as an historical assertion claiming that at some distant point in ancient times – the initiation of time – the Word (whatever that might mean) came into being as a kind of medium through which all else that has come to be was created. My sense is that misses the poetic thrust of this mystical writer. Rather, I understand John to have experienced that not only in the beginning of each and every experience we have, but in the middle and culmination as well, there is this mystery he identifies as “the Word.”

God is Always Needing to Be Born

Essay by Rev. Lauren Van Ham on February, 1 2018

January is over and 2018 is finding its voice. Each year extends possibility. Within the possibility, events take place – births, deaths, celebrations, mishaps – and history is made. Meister Eckhart, the 12th century mystic proclaimed,
We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.

Meeting the Challenge

Essay by Fred Plumer on February, 15 2018

Bishop Spong calls for change. He challenges us to begin to rebuild a new Christianity and frankly, that is what we are trying to do here. These are the issues we have asked our authors to deal with. We do not need to do any more deconstruction. It has been done, and done well.

“God” Isn’t in the Bible

Essay by Rev. Mark Sandlin on February, 8 2018

Language is more important than many of us realize. More precisely, the specific words we choose to use impact our way of thinking, our social behavior, and many other perspectives of our lives. It’s actually a fairly recent development in the human brain in terms of our long history as a species. The frontal lobes of our brains have actually expanded to handle its expanded work requirements.

Theological Violence toward the Divine Feminine: Praying for an end to Rape Culture

Essay by Rev. Roger Wolsey on October, 26 2017

If you have a Facebook account you are no doubt abundantly aware by now of the “Me too” campaign that has been taking place. It’s a powerful way for women to convey to the world that they have been the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault at the hands of men. It is quite clear that nearly all women have experienced either of those – some on a daily basis. They’re trying to show us the great extent of this problem by simply posting “Me too.” My initial response was simply this: “I believe you and it’s not OK.”

After reading your essay, “The Way Home for the Prodigal Species,” last week, I was left with a desire for further …

Answered by Michael Dowd

A New Template for Religion: A Conversation with Michael Morwood: Part 1

Essay by Rev. David M. Felten on July, 13 2017

Most 21st century Christians have grown up indoctrinated by a conventional religious experience that offers the assurance of having all the answers tied up in a little bow, just for the believing. Many still find this to be comforting, but a growing number are antsy. On the verge of becoming what Bishop Spong calls “church alumni/ae,” they know too much. Archaeology, astrophysics, and any number of other scientific disciplines continue to make discoveries that compel us to re-evaluate our true place in the universe – and we are right to be feeling increasingly humble.

East of Eden: Understanding the Creation Story

Essay by Joran Slane Oppelt on June, 21 2018

Why are we here? How did we come to be? What is our relationship to the force that created us? What is our relationship to the environment and to the other creatures on Earth? Does man exercise free will? Why is life full of suffering? Where is the line between right and wrong, guilt and innocence, damnation and salvation? For Jews and Christians, these questions (and more) are first posed in that short, simple story.

Reformers, All

Essay by Rev. Gretta Vosper on October, 12 2017

We’ve been anticipating the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation for some time. Now that the month is upon us, it seems more like a private birthday party than something worthy of global attention. In truth, I suppose it is. With the global number of Reform Tradition Protestants diminishing, the celebration of the dramatic and cataclysmic leave-taking that was our birth seems of little interest to any but those enchanted by the history of such things and the few others taking advantage of the liturgical and party possibilities offered up by the date.

Moving Toward Radical Inclusion- Part 1

Essay by Rev. Irene Monroe on July, 12 2018

Radical inclusion must not be intellectualized but instead connected deeply with our need for personal healing which requires us to heal our “isms.”

Refiguring the Birth of Christ

Essay by Toni Reynolds on July, 5 2018

Part of the struggle for 21st Christians is that we have inherited a tradition formed many lifetimes ago, a key component being the virgin birth of the Christ. This tradition has been handed to us with little to no permission to rework the interpretations for ourselves. I am eager to follow Bishop Spong’s lead in doing so before more time passes by.

Why Traditional Christianity Must Die

Essay by Rev. Brandan Robertson on October, 4 2018

At the end of his most recent book Unbelievable, Bishop Spong poses a question that should be grappled with by every person of faith in this modern era. Essentially, he asks, “Can Christianity in its theology, liturgy, institutions, and practices evolve to meet the rapidly emerging new textures of reality in the 21st century?” As a Christian pastor and public theologian, I have often grappled with this very question, especially as I have witnessed my own worldview shift dramatically away from a “traditional” Christian perspective towards a new way of seeing and being that could only scarcely be called “Christian” by the standards of the dominant institutions within the religion.

The Way Home for the Prodigal Species

Essay by Michael Dowd on October, 19 2017

Here is a short story. The theme: how human-centeredness alienated us from primary reality (Gᴏᴅ) and how ecology — the interdisciplinary study of the way, the truth, and the life of the living biosphere — can lead us home.

Charting a New Reformation, Part XXVIII – The Ninth Thesis, Ethics

Essay by Bishop John Shelby Spong on July, 14 2016

“The ability to define and separate good from evil can no longer be achieved with appeals to ancient codes like the Ten Commandments or even to later interpretations …

A Brief Exploration into the Gospel of Luke

Essay by Rev. Deshna Charron Shine on April, 12 2018

I would like to take a moment to explore the Gospel of Luke. When I read Biblical passages these days, I am looking for the deeper meaning behind the words. Meaning, I am not just looking for the dates, context, and scribes, though these are important pieces to the puzzle. I am looking for what the crisis might have been that caused the author to write it and how does the scripture speak to that crisis. I am seeking the wisdom that the passages hold for me in the moment as I read them. The wisdom found in sacred texts can shift as the reader shifts…that is one of the reasons why they are still valuable to modern seekers.

How I Got Here

Essay by Brian McLaren on April, 11 2019

Suddenly, I saw in a new light the violence of the modern era, from colonialism to Stalinism to Naziism to nuclear war to the environmental crisis. Smart people, armed with excessive and un-self-critical confidence derived from their absolutized ideologies, could commit unspeakable atrocities without having second thoughts.

Growing Up in a White Male God’s World

Essay by Christena Cleveland on July, 4 2019

But once I turned my attention to the problem of God’s maleness, I realized that I didn’t just hate white Christ, I also hated male Christ. A god who is exclusively white and male, or even predominantly white and male, is never going to be safe for people of color and/or women. Indeed, white male god is intersectional; we must be liberated from both its whiteness and maleness.

Being True To Christ But Rejecting Christianity

Essay by EbonyJanice Moore on July, 18 2019

A shift in my geographical location was the catalyst for a life-altering shift in my theological truth system. I was in Kenya, East Africa for 10 weeks in the summer of 2013 on a missions/educational trip when I began to ask myself about the introduction of Christianity to African people, most specifically black people in America as a result of slavery. This was the first time I had ever asked myself why do I believe what I say I believe.

Let the Church die, here’s why

Essay by Rev. Aurelia Dávila Pratt on September, 12 2019

My assessment is that Christianity and its Church can either join the flow of justice or flail against its changing tides. This flow is happening with or without you. Spirit is moving, creating a path of love, equality, and peacemaking in its wake. If you are of the mind to jump in to this divine current, then I have several points of advice for you.