While speaking to a group in Rio a few years ago, I met a young man who asked, "Do you know a bishop named Spong?" "Yes," I replied, not wanting to lead the witness. +Jack Spong was the active Bishop of Newark at the time, and I served on the Standing Committee. "He saved my life!" he exclaimed. "How so?" I asked. The young man had grown up quite devout and Catholic, and at the University of London found himself in the throes of doubt, trying to reconcile his intellectual and scientific understandings with the world view that he found in scripture and in the church. He suffered profound despair. Then he found RESCUING THE BIBLE FROM FUNDAMENTALISM. He translated the whole book into Portuguese, and then translated two other Spong books. He changed his major and became a priest in the Province of Brazil. Bishop Spong's new book THE SINS OF SCRIPTURE is due out this month and is already in many bookstores. See http://www.harpercollins.com/global_scripts/product_catalog/book_xml.asp?isbn=0060762055 Jack Spong defends the faith by provoking us to think about it. How refreshing! He and his beloved Christine sit for long spells at Samaritan wells with no noticeable discomfort. He never demands that we agree with him, only that we think for ourselves. Boredom is a huge threat to the survival of Christianity. Obey the forgotten part of the first commandment: Love God with your mind. Feast on this new book. +Jack Spong is the most widely read bishop in the world, and read by people who don't have to. What he calls the Church Alumni Association is in for a great feast, as are the rest of us who are up to the challenge. Joy! L.
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