Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bishop Spong Follow-Up

Every once in a while, I write a post that I feel has been so badly misinterpreted that I believe it warrants a totally separate post to attempt some clarification.

As it happens, my recent post about Bishop Spong apparently needs such a follow-up.

I wrote that post about a spiritually vulnerable college kid who picked up one of Spong's books and had an experience 180 degrees different from that of his target audience. A few of his appreciators chimed in after perceiving that he needed defending from something I didn't say, or from something that my 10-years-younger self didn't like but which I've most likely changed my mind about in the time since.

And I admit that. I admit that my experience has kept me from moving on from that opinion of Spong, and even revisiting his work.

The post is about who I was ten years ago.

The post is about who I was ten years ago.

And even as I have grown, have become much more comfortable with and appreciative of mystery and questioning, for some reason I still had a hang-up about one advocate of such things until recently, because I finally decided that there was no reason to have that hang-up any more.

If you're able, read that post through the lenses of somebody emotionally and theologically unprepared to deal with what Spong presents. Don't read it as a disillusioned believer who was helped by his writing. Think about what sorts of things may need to be happening in somebody's life for Spong's writing to cause disillusionment rather than repair it.

I've probably linked to this post a half dozen times over the course of this blog's existence, but it should help get you started.

And in the post I wrote the other day, I'm saying that the person who picked up that book ten years ago (it is all about who I was ten years ago, after all) is not who I am today.

And Spong probably helped with that. But I wasn't ready to admit it until now.

But since, you know, that post was mostly about who I was ten years ago, I definitely wasn't going to admit it then.

So it's there, and for those who will still want to chime in to defend him, all I can say is that I meant what I wrote. But now I'm writing to tell you what I meant. And now that you hopefully know what I meant, I invite you to read it again.