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Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality [Paperback]

By John Shelby Spong (Author)
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Item description for Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality by John Shelby Spong...

Is celibacy the only moral alternative to marriage? In answering provocative questions on the nature of sexual relationships, Bishop Spong proposes for the church a positive and pastoral response to the changing patterns of human relationships in the world today.

Publishers Description

Is celibacy the only moral alternative to marriage? Should the widowed be allowed to form intimate relationships without remarrying? Should the church receive homosexuals into its community and support committed gay and lesbian relationships? Should congregations publicly and liturgically witness and affirm divorces? Should the church's moral standards continue to be set by patriarchal males? Should women be consecrated bishops? Bishop Spong proposes a pastoral response based on scripture and history to the changing realities of the modern world. He calls for a moral vision to empower the church with inclusive teaching about equal, loving, nonexploitative relationships.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.02" Width: 5.36" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 2, 1990
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  0060675071  
ISBN13  9780060675073  
UPC  099455016001  

Availability  2 units.
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More About John Shelby Spong

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

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2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Poverty > Social Services & Welfare
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5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Spong, John Shelby
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7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Inspirational
10Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

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Books > Christian Living > Relationships > Family Concerns

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Reviews - What do customers think about Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality?

Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality  Jan 29, 2007
Very insightful. The author has a great way of connecting common sense to life. Bishop Spong enables one to see the Bible from a historical perspective and bring new light to the scriptures.
Not making any sense  Jan 18, 2007
This is not a Christian teaching book, if it was written by some atheist I will give the book five stars, but to be written by some one proclaiming himself a priest and Christian I should give it zero star if I have this choice.The identity of the author is not clear, his ideas does not make any sense with the reality, There is a big difference between Love and sex but the author ignored this fact to deceive people with no religion or to the people who don't have a real background about Christianity, the Christianity never been anti women actually there are too many Christians praise Virgin Mary more than any body else, this is false teaching. The Christianity is against any kind of sex outside marriage including homosexuality so what is his point?, this is false teaching, and not representing Christianity at any level, again his identity is not clear the same as the serpent who deceived Eve with the familiar story we all know, if I compare I don't see much difference.
Thoughtful book  Jan 4, 2007
I think the book is beautifully written and intelligent.It is brave and to the point of the matter. I have enjoyed it very much indeed. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in realistic 21st century issues related to human sexuality. Very enlightening!!
Interesting critique of Christian ideas about sex  Oct 13, 2006
I think in the present time, one of the hardest issues the Christian world (and the world's religions in general) is grappling with is human sexuality.

I certainly would agree with many of Spong's points on regards to the extreme hatred towards homosexuals and women which has sadly, infected the monotheistic faiths especially. I certainly agree with him theologies which contain hatred towards gay people, women, or those who have sex outside of marriage, have no place in the postmodern world.

Reform is certainly necessary but also very divisive for many Christians. Certainly these issues are explosive for many since they seem to cut to the deepest issues about who we are as human beings. It also goes to the heart of classical theological mysteries such as sin, evil, redemption, God, marriage, and others.

I personally feel sex is a sacred gift and an essential part of our nature. However Spong seems to me to often have an unrealistically optimistic view of human sexuality and sexual relationships. By rejecting the idea of sin he also really ignores the power of sin to warp and destroy all of our human relationships, including intimate ones. Unfortunately people with an legalistic understanding of sin tie it too much to black and white interpretations of the commandments and the bible, when in fact sin is also very much about the choices we make and the effects these choices have on the people who are connected to us. Sin isn't only just about approaching the alter in the wrong way or doing this and not doing that, it is also about how we hurt others through our own selfishness and our shortcomings.

There is certainly a danger and Spong is right to attack the Phariseeism you see so often in fanatics and fundamentalists who try and settle every complicated moral issue, not by thinking and reflecting critically but by throwing down the Bible and saying 'God says so, in the bible.' But on the other hand, we can't eliminate sin from the sphere of the sexual since sexuality is central to human life but sadly all human life in this world is permeated by suffering, evil, and self-centeredness, as well as goodness, joy, happiness and love. Free love is wonderful until you get someone pregnant and then you must face the responsibility of bringing up a child; to be Godly is also to be good and virtuous and to always consider the consequences of your actions.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Bringing religion into the 21st century.  Jan 22, 2006
I grew up going to church and believing in God, but somewhere along the way, the anti-female and anti-sex attitude, along with the intolerance of anyone who is or thinks differently from the established doctrine, put me off. I quit going as soon as I was old enough to make the decision, and on my best days, might consider myself an agnostic primarily because you can't prove a negative.

However, if there were more religions or even pastors with attitude like Spong's, I might still be going to church. He takes the Bible and the church's attitudes towards sex and sexuality of all kinds (heterosexual, homosexual, pre-marital, post-marital) and puts it into a framework that someone with a working brain can tolerate. He points out the context in which the Bible was written and the attitudes towards sex and women were formed - and says why they are not applicable and ought to be re-thought today.

Particularly interesting to me were the ideas of reviving the idea of betrothal, and of a church ceremony for divorce. The latter chapter almost made me cry - having witnessed painful divorces of family members and been through very painful breakups myself, the idea of having a ceremony to mark the end of the relationship surrounded by friends, friends who are then given a chance to remain friends with both halves of the couple, was very moving and appealing.

However, if you are a traditionalist, for this book to make an impact, you have to be open looking at things from a different viewpoint for a little while. You have to be ready to let go of a little security and prejudice and get to the compassion that is supposed to be the heart of Christianity. This isn't a human sexuality textbook - it is about humanizing religion and bringing the old attitudes into line with modern knowledge and reality. It takes courage to look at beliefs you hold dear and evaluate them objectively, and not a lot of people have the strength to do it. Spong does - do you?


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