What is God?

Column by Fred Plumer on April, 26 2018

A few weeks ago, I recommended to our Progressing Spirit writers that we should all write articles that responded to Bishop Spong’s book, Unbelievable. Then it hit me. I was going to be doing the article this week and as I had suggested to our writers, I would have to start with Spong’s first thesis. “Holy moly,” what was I thinking? For Spong’s first thesis is “God.” Now, I am a student of the Bible. I have been studying it for over forty years. Nearly thirty years ago I came to the dramatic conclusion that the vast majority, if not the entire Bible, was written as metaphor by people who may have been very bright for their time in history but were largely ignorant of the world that inherited this book. We really do not understand the world they lived in, and obviously, they did not understand the world we live in today. Many of their sincere beliefs would be considered, at best, superstitions today. That is one of the reasons it has always amazed me people can argue for an inerrant interpretation of the Bible, using the Bible to “prove” their own interpretation.

Bleeding Edge Practitioners

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on February, 22 2018

Rejecting or reinterpreting traditional religious beliefs has always undermined family relationships, communities of faith, and the general coherence of the public. Many who haven’t crossed the threshold of a religious building in decades (if ever) hold rigidly to the privileges they believe religion provides them. Toy with those beliefs and you are unwittingly challenging the rights of the privileged, rights they too frequently enjoy denying those who do not share their beliefs. And those who do participate in religious communities with regularity are often invested in language and ritual they believe is integral to their experience. “Without reciting the Lord’s Prayer when we gather, how will we remember who we are?” they worry.

Column 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.

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on August, 31 2017

Much of the work I have been privileged to do over the past thirteen years has been the result of a conversation I had one day with the late Reverend Jim Adams, founder of The Center for Progressive Christianity (now called ProgressiveChristianity.org). If it weren’t for you, much of this would never have happened at all. Think of it as an “It’s a Wonderful Life” contribution!

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on June, 22 2017

It’s been four years since I decided to publicly identify as an atheist. After the manner of time’s calming influence upon things about which we were once so passionate, my perspective on the wisdom of the decision has altered. And as we so often do, I revisit that decision from time to time and wonder if, given the opportunity to relive those days, I would make it again.

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on April, 20 2017

The calendars we give and receive as Christmas gifts – Sudoku-a-Day desk tear-offs, or expensive, hang-on-the-wall art photography – don’t pay much heed to the Christian calendar aside from noting its two largest festivals – Christmas and Easter – and helping retailers take advantage of a few minor ones – Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, and Hallowe’en. Denominational church calendars fill in more of the blanks, but we all know that the year we follow starts on the first of January, a bleak and dreary date in the northern hemisphere and a riot of colour and beauty in the southern. I don’t know anyone who hangs up a calendar that starts the first day of Advent and marks their year in the way Christians once did long ago. Of course, I don’t know any monks. Perhaps they do.

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.

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 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.