Monday, March 30, 2015

Moving Beyond Guilt-Laden Christianity Into A New Vision

The following are lectures given by the retired Bishop John Shelby Spong at Community Christian Church of Springfield, Illinois on August 3rd, 2013.

In his first lecture, Bishop Spong speaks about the guilt-laden message of traditional Christianity, particularly when it comes to sexuality, as well as the idea of atonement, and the control of the traditional Christian church.

"Our problem is not that you and I are fallen sinners; our problem is that you and I have not yet evolved into being fully human."

In his second lecture, Bishop Spong speaks at length about the origins of life, and a new vision for Christianity, one where Jesus is seen as a barrier-breaker who dared to go beyond humanity's instinct to survive at all costs. This kind of Christianity stands up for the oppressed, and does not fear science.

"Jesus said, 'I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.' That's the business we're in, we're in the life business. We're in the business of expanding the life of every person; that's why it is impossible to be Christian and to be prejudiced at the same time. That's why when I watch the Christian church debate issues of human sexuality about which they know almost nothing, and spend their time saying who is acceptable in the house of God, that is such a violation of what I understand the Christ to be, that is is repelling to me. That's not what it's about. I've come that you might have life. I've come to call you and to empower you beyond the limits of your humanity, to escape your survival-driven, prejudiced life, to call you into something that's different. To let you pass from self-consciousness into universal consciousness, from expanded humanity into divinity. The way that you become divine is to become fully human. Dualism must cease. Jesus is one of those breakthrough lives that sets those barriers aside so that we have some vision of what it means when the human and divine come together.