Is Jesus the Only Way?

Column by Rev. Roger Wolsey on April, 27 2017

As a progressive Christian pastor and author I frequently receive critical pushback from conservative and fundamentalist Christians who adamantly declare that the only way to experience salvation is by giving intellectual assent to certain specific truth claims about the life of Jesus. Scratch that, they don’t generally care about his life, their focus is primarily upon Jesus’ death and his resurrection. Their message boils down to “Unless you believe that Jesus died for your sins and that he physically rose from the grave, you are a heretic, and will go to hell when you die.”

“Hopey-Changey”

Column by Rev. Mark Sandlin on March, 30 2017

Churches are dying at an alarming rate. Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors for good and more than 2,765,000 people leave the church each year.

Yet we, the Church, insist on doing the same thing over and over again and somehow expecting different results. When confronted with change we tend to insist that “it has always been done that way,” as if history is an acceptable excuse for continuing down our path to demise.

Bishop Spong’s Newsletter

Column by Fred Plumer on March, 23 2017

Good morning friends. I am the Board President of ProgressiveChristianity.org and have held that position for over 12 years. Our organization has been the publishers of the Bishop Spong’s newsletters and the owners of the John Shelby Spong website for nearly five years now. The website is titled, A New Christianity for a New World. I hope you all avail yourself to this treasure of fascinating and interesting articles by Bishop Spong that go back almost 20 years. As subscribers you have access to these absolutely wonderful writings of one of the best authors of our time. If you have trouble accessing these nearly two thousand articles by Bishop Spong please contact our office and we will help you. This morning, however, I want to share with you some of the things we are doing with your subscriptions newsletter.

How to Repeal and Replace Christianity’s Addiction to “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts” #tremendous #huge

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on March, 9 2017

Bishop Spong’s reputation for expressing unapologetic, sometimes blunt, theological opinions is long-established. While some have accused him of being overbearing or egotistical, others have depended on him for a firm defense of a particular spot on the theological spectrum.

Column 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.”

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on February, 16 2017

I know. You think you’ve opened the wrong email or caught a link to the wrong page. This must be from Mind, Body, Green, or A Daily Dose of Motivation. Maybe you’re signed up to Les Brown’s email list and are used to getting motivational encouragement just like this every day.

But this isn’t that. This is what you were looking for. I promise.

Column by Cassandra Farrin on February, 9 2017

Martin Scorsese recently released a film adaptation of the 1966 novel “Silence” by Shusaku Endo that traces the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan. As a long-time admirer and friend of the Japanese people, I am understandably nervous about how this new film will affect Western perceptions of a country I hold dear, so I looked into the history of religious persecution in Japan to help put the film in context. Ironically, the best book I found on the subject wasn’t on Christianity at all, but on Buddhism: Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and Its Persecution by James Edward Ketelaar.

Column by Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D. on January, 19 2017

Even before our children were born, my wife, Rïse, and I, like many a parent, sang and read to our children. Later, nestled between us in bed and then resting upon our laps, they listened intently as we read about rabbits, moons, gardens, fingers, toes and smiles. Bit by bit, these little beings began to imitate us, holding the book precariously in tiny hands; looking first at the pages and next at the words as if reading, and eventually, eagerly, albeit clumsily, turning the book’s leaf. And then one day it happened, as if by magic – they themselves were reading. They had taught themselves to learn how to read. Such pride in their newly discovered competence. And the truly magic sojourn into the land of truth had begun in earnest. They were experiencing the exhilarating freedom of moving beyond the two-dimensional landscape of imitation into the endless world of exploration, made possible by following the Spirit’s invitation to learn how to learn. Imitation is a fine and necessary beginning, but as an ending it is claustrophobic, and stultifying as death.

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on January, 12 2017

As you may have heard, while visiting in Marquette, Michigan I suffered a stroke. The date was September 10th. Since that time I have worked hard to regain my strength. I have been quite successful in that and now have no trouble walking or using my arms. It has been a learning experience. Health is a major demand of my life. I still use my running track each day for about three miles, so I feel most fortunate. The book I was writing on “Charting a New Reformation” will meet its deadline and be at Harper by the due date, the first of March, 2017. I entertained returning to my column, but as the time goes by I no longer have the strength to keep up that schedule, so I have informed Fred Plumer of ProgressiveChristianity.org that I will not be able to return to that task. I write to notify you, my readers, and to enable Fred to begin the process to choose a successor.

Column by Rev. Roger Wolsey on December, 15 2016

It’s accurately said that “we stand on the shoulders of giants” and John Shelby Spong is one of mine. Bishop Spong has been a tremendous influence on my life as a pastor who is also a theologian and writer. Though we’re not of the same denomination, we are birds of a feather and kindred spirits. We share similar vocational callings. We give a damn about Christianity and its capacity to serve as a source of healing and prophetic transformation in a world that sorely needs those things. And, we care enough about the lineage we’re part of to critique the hell out of it – literally – to help separate the wheat from the chaff in ways that help the faith to be relevant and meaningful in this new millennium.

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