Item description for A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born by John Shelby Spong...
Overview The popular, challenging Episcopal bishop serves up his unique vision for the Christian church, arguing that traditional expressions of the faith are dying while a new paradigm emerges. Reprint.
In his bestselling book Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Bishop John Shelby Spong described the toxins that are poisoning the Church. Now he offers the antidote, calling Christians everywhere into a new and radical reformation for a new age. Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity -- a vision of the power that might be.
Citations And Professional Reviews A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born by John Shelby Spong has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 10/23/2002 page 46
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.99" Width: 5.31" Height: 0.74" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2002
ISBN 0060670630 ISBN13 9780060670634 UPC 099455013956
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More About John Shelby Spong
John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000. As a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches throughout the English-speaking world, he is one of the leading spokespersons for liberal Christianity. His books include Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, Jesus for the Non-Religious, A New Christianity for a New World, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Why Christianity Must Change or Die and his autobiography, Here I Stand. He has initiated landmark discussions of controversies within the church and has become an outspoken advocate for change.
John Shelby Spong currently resides in Newark, in the state of New Jersey. John Shelby Spong was born in 1931.
Reviews - What do customers think about A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born?
Troubling & Only Partially Satisfying May 26, 2008
Selby Spong's last book has much to commend it. He is sincere in his endevour, lucid and honest. He works hard to lead the reader on a journey. But the book is troubling. On one level it is because he is prone to gross factual distortions. To name a few: - He asserts that the modern West is a particularly drug prone culture. He gives no factual basis for this but it is certainly possible to think of numerous earlier or other cultures which had much higher drug usage rates - eighteenth century England, the Inca's etc etc - He asserts that Christianity is particularly violent. Again there is no evidence of this and again it is transparently obvious that the most violent regimes in history have been secular (Mao, Hitler, Stalin to name three) - He asserts that Christianity has not been particularly successful outside of Europe. Again this is transparently false as he just forgets about Christianity's penetration in South America.
These are just three examples but it suggests a willingness to be fact free in the name of the polemic.
And as for this polemic? Here, I think he does ask good questions but provides poor answers. If he is pointing to a new Christianity then I think he has failed because the differences between his Christianity and Buddhism (in particular) are minute. He takes so little from the 2000 years of Christian evolution that it may as well not have happened.
Courageous? I think not May 23, 2008
I picked up a copy of this book at my local library for a dollar. I had read something else of Spong's years ago and wanted to see if my earlier less-than-favorable impressions still held. No real surprises. Many people praise Spong for being courageous in his writings, but it seems to me that Spong has stopped believing in God in general, as well as in Christianity, and yet is afraid to completely admit it, maybe even to himself. (Though the book left no doubt in my mind.)
A clear view of Christianity Apr 9, 2008
John Spong is a prophet with a unique insight into the complex relationship between Christianity as a way of life and Christianity as an institutionalized religion. All of his books are challenging, risky, shocking and in the end, liberating. He is a brilliant man but more important, a brave and optimistic man. He cuts through the narcissistic customs, rules, myths and control-oriented clerical culture of organized Christianity and tries to expose the real Jesus and the real Christianity. He succeeds. This is the book for anyone who is frustrated or angry or disappointed with their man-created religious denomination. Spong excises the guilt that the churches associate with any questioning of their methods, madness and lies. Once this guilt is gone one can find hope and peace in a vision of Christianity that includes and loves and does not divide, exclude and condemn.
New Christianity for a New World Mar 25, 2008
John Spong writes with passion and conviction which embrace the very depth of Christianiy for the modern times. He has been given the tools to lead all of us to a new and deeper relationship with the Christ we have known,and to the realistic Christ we have been searching for. We have the opportunity to have a more united world for all faiths in the future, and hopefully, we will be able to enjoy more peacefull lives for all man kind with the use of his wisdom.
Stuck Feb 19, 2008
Writing 2 years after exploring a non-theistic Christianity in Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers In Exile, Bishop Spong seems to have little to add to that work. An opportunity, perhaps, to re-state where he had come to in his thinking. A good chapter on the role theism had played historically in helping humankind deal with the trauma of self-consciousness and a challenge to any emergent Christianity that it be able to help us counter the hysteria that seems to be emerging due to the dying of theism. But little theological advance in this book and one wonders if one would do better to turn to Tillich, however less accessible he might be, or to Bonhoeffer. Is knowing God as "the Ground of All Being" adequate to sustain one? Is meeting Jesus as the Gospel writers presented him adequate to inspire? Spong seems unsure just what form any "New Christianity" will take although he seems to know what forms it should not take. Although committed still to his image of Jesus, he does not even seem certain whether Christianity will survive as a viable religion for those believers in exile he has sought to reach. Given that, it seem s surprising that he has not ventured away even a little from Jesus. He does speak of conversations with Buddhists and others, but he seems unwilling to let go of Christianity for a while and try Buddhism or any other faith. Were he, for example, to at least study and practice some form of Buddhism, say Chan Buddhism, he might see how that religion evolved so as to let go almost entirely of the historical Buddha, instead turning to creating legends of new Chinese Buddhas based on such Chan Buddhist masters as Hui-Neng and Lin-Chi.
Spong's attachment to his image of Jesus may be preventing his spiritual growth. Not that the life and death of Jesus and the stories that emerged of it are not important but that Spong may not be able to really see Christianity until he lets go of all of it. As it is, he seems to be desperately holding fast to his image of Jesus and unable to see how Christianity over the centuries may be something much more than Jesus. Certainly a pearl may start in response to a grain of sand but it is the pearl that is beautiful and not the no longer seen grain of sand. Why try so hard to speculate on who Jesus was, even after abandoning the bodily resurrection and even the theistic conception of God? Spong may do well to turn his attention more thoroughly to Paul and the implications of his Christ experience as presented in his own letters. Spong's Jesus may be too much a matter of speculation and the next to be rejected by those very believers in exile to whom Spong appeals. If not a literal resurrection and not a literal God, why then such a literalized Jesus? How selective has Spong been in forming the Jesus he presents? Perhaps Spong should focus on how he is able to respond to God and live more fully rather than keep trying to interpret the New Testament in a way that suits him better when he seems unsure himself what that way would be. Is Spong ready to advise others or is he struggling to work out a path for himself, a path that may lead him, despite his protestations to the contrary, beyond Jesus and beyond Christ? One might do well to read Thomas Altizer's much bolder forays in The New Gospel of Christian Atheism and Living the Death of God: A Theological Memoir. Spong needs to be bolder or many "believers in exile" will find guidance in others leaving only the timid to read Spong and believe they are being progressive by doing so: : at least for the latter it may be a start.
Note well: since writing the above review, I have read Spong's more recent book: Jesus for the Non-Religious in which he has pulled together and further advances many of the insights from his previous books: I recommend it.