Episcopal Bishop Shelby Spong wrote several other books and had a column on Belief Net – or still may have it since he retired. I used to subscribe to it.
I attended his two day lecture at Christ Church, Dayton, Ohio a few years back after I had retired from teaching and was astounded by how he could lecture through all four of the Gospels giving dates they were written and the differences between the various Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, seemingly or actually from memory with casual looks at notes and also before the lectures were over go over in minute details Darwin’s theory of evolution
with factual explanations and a “free for all” … “any and all questions asked” during a extended question and answer period.
It was most educational and enlightening!
I purchased the CD Rom record of his lecture. He was among the first in the Episcopal Church to accepted women and gays as priests and later as bishops. He still may post articles on Belief Net with questions and answers from readers. And he got them and answered them! There were some very heated and emotional discussions by readers who interpreted the Bible literally and rejected all of what he posted!
John Shelby Spong, (Bestselling Author of Why Christianity Must Change or Die A New Christianity For A New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying & How A New Faith Is Being Born (HarperSanFrancisco, A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers: New York), 2001:
Although Bishop Spong indicated that he will “go to his grave as a Christian,” he is very cognizant of “the signs of the death of Theism” voiced by such writers as Christopher Hitchens, Sam Davis, Craig A. James, and John F. Loftus.
Bishop Spong refers to and also discusses fundamentalists school prayer, the public display on government (city) property and public schools of the 10 commandments, and the failure to realize or recognize the fact that historically Christianity has been the source of violence, and killing ….”
The Case for Religion:
John Polkinghorne, former Physicist and Anglican Priest, author of Science and Providence, One World , and Science and Creation: The Search for Understanding (New Science Library: Shambhala: Boston), 1989, in Science and Creation: The Search for Understanding, indicated:
“While it is true that cold intellectual thinking can never bring anyone into a warm personal relationship with God, it is also true that, while a subjective commitment to God may be satisfying to the self, it lacks credibility to others unless it can be shown that there are good reasons for the actual existence of the God to whom commitment has been given.” [H. Montefiore, “The Probability of God,” SCM Press, 1985]:
“Einstein once said, ‘Religion without science is blind. Science without religion is lame.’ [A. Einstein, “E.T.: Ideas and Opinions,” Souvenir Press, 1973, p. 55] His instinct that they need each other was right, though I would not describe their separate shortcomings in quite the terms he chose.
“Rather I would say, ‘Religion without science is confined; it fails to be completely open to reality. Science without religion is incomplete; it fails to attain the deepest possible understanding.’ The remarkable insights that science affords us into the intelligible workings of the world cry out for an explanation more profound than that which it itself can provide. Religion, if it is to take seriously its claim that the world is the creation of God, must be humble enough to learn from science what that world is actually like. The dialogue between them can only be mutually enriching.
“The scientist will find in theology a unifying principle more fundamental than the grandest unified field theory. The theologian will encounter in science’s account of the pattern and structure of the physical world a reality which calls forth his admiration and wonder. Together they can say with the psalmist:
‘O Lord how manifold are thy works!
In wisdom thou hast made them all.’ — [Psalm 104: 24]
John Polkinghorne, is Dean and Chaplain of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, is a Fellow of the Royal Society and former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University.
“John F. Haught is Senior Fellow, Science and Religion, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University and the author of fifteen books,
including God After Darwin, The Promise of Nature, Theology in Global Perspective Series,
Peter C. Phan, General Editor, Ignacio Ellacuria, and is a Professor of Catholic Social Thought, at Georgetown University, in the Preface of Christianity and Science: Toward a Theology of Nature (Orbis Books: Maryknoll, New York), 2007, indicated:
“One of the most surprising scientific discoveries of the past century and a half is that the universe is an unfolding story. The sense that the universe is still in the process of coming into being began to emerge faintly several hundred yeas ago when Tycho Brahe and Galileo Galilei produced visual evidence that the heavens are not changeless.
Today, however, developments in geology evolutionary biology,and cosmology have lefr no doubt: the whole of nature not just earth and human history has an essentially narrative character.
Before modern times the wider universe seemed to be the general context and container of local terrestrial stories, but not itself a story. Now science has shown that our universe is still undergoing transformations that can best be represented in the style of a drama.
Formerly the heavens seemed steady enough to frame all the stories unfolding on earth. The firmament was a place of refuge to which worldlings could flee, at least in contemplation from the fatal flow of events here below.
But during the last century the heavens too were swallowed up by a story, one that now seems almost too big for the telling. What is Christian theology going to make of this larger story? The unfathomable reach of cosmic proceedings infinitely outstrips in time and space the brief span of human flourishing and the even more fleeting moments of Hebrew and Christian religious history.
Science has discovered a world that moves on a scale unimaginable to the prophets and evangelists.”
And of particular note:
NEW YORK — The movement toward legalizing same-sex marriage and the acceptance of gay people as clergy and lay members of religious groups is “a done deal” that represents “phenomenal” progress, the top figure in the Episcopal Church told The Huffington Post during a recent visit to its newsroom.
In an hour-long conversation with HuffPost staffers, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, touched upon subjects that ranged from her views on how to interpret scripture and challenges that face the church as its demographics change to debates over contraception and the relationship between religion and science. —