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Why Christianity Must Change Or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile Paperback – Apr 8 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (April 8 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060675365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060675363
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.8 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Jan. 29 2004
Format: Paperback
since Christianity has changed a multitude of times over the years. Bishop Spong is a deep thinker and I believe a man with a good heart. To me, that's saying a lot when you're speaking about Christians, just due to the fact that they seem to believe they have this exclusive religion and if you do not believe as they do you are not only condemned to hell, but must be feared, abused, even murdered (but prayed for!!!!). I wonder, do they pray for Osama?
My major problem with this book, as any book on such a topic, is God doesn't speak in "words" (despite the evangelical belief that the bible is the so-called "Word of God", even though the chapters are mostly titled after the MEN ... no WOMEN here ... who wrote them). God speaks in quiet moments in the soul that do not translate well to language; poets have sometimes captured it, although you must have the soul to "read between the lines"; musicians also, in their music, not often in their words. God speaks mostly in quiet, still, peaceful moments. We can feel something, then it wisps away.
Do I KNOW the TRUTH? No. I never will in this life. Neither will you. We seek, as seeking is the nature of life. But to FIND is only something we may feel in a moment, to be lost again the next. Yet scholars such as Bishop Spong with the courage to question are to be admired, not vilified (not even by God, in my opinion, and I "sense" (alas, the human lack of anything else) God agrees with me on this one).
Perhaps since I did not have the "luxury" of a right wing conservative upbringing I am not afraid to ask questions. I pity those who are. So my hat is off to Bishop Spong and all those not afraid to use the brain God gave them. Peace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Kincy on Jan. 12 2004
Format: Paperback
Even if you do not agree with Spong's conclusions that he has reached only after a trip into heresy and madness, a critical look at Christianity shows that it is changing, and it matters not whether you're an evangelical reactionary or a liberal who doesn't mind a gay man leading the liturgy.
Conservatives might read this book with shock and horror--or perhaps with a smug, self-certainty that this is why the Episcopal Church is destroying itself from within. But a trip to a place like Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas shows you that change affects everyone. Evangelical denominations are growing because the most popular evangelical churches resemble rock concerts mixed in with a bunch of uncritical Bible-pounding and self-congratulation. Or if even that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you can explore Mormonism or charismatic churches where the word "heresy" doesn't even begin to describe what's going on.
No, like it or not, Spong's right--Christianity must change or die. You can go to the rock concert, or you can think of a way to remain Christian in a way that affirms humanity and reworks the liturgy into something life-affirming and beautiful. Spong ultimately fails in this, because he goes too far--but his book remains useful because sooner or later all Christians much examine their faith critically, or they will become cynical and descend into self-rightenousness and Christian rock.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 12 2003
Format: Paperback
Bishop Spong's critique of christianity is reasonably fair and accurate. However I don't think that talking of the "ground of being" etc as a replacement for the traditional theistic God would mean much to most people including myself. None of the alternatives to theistic religions can really speak to our emotional needs. Maybe in the end all there really is to life is to live for the moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lc on Aug. 26 2003
Format: Paperback
I loved this book...it was an absolute comfort to read. I was reading what I have *felt* for so long. Bishop Spong articulately presents God, not as a "Daddy in the Sky", but as Spirit that swells throughout us. Jesus is no longer fancifully perceived as the literal son of God, but as a historical holy man. Mary is a women, who conceived naturally. No mythology, no storytelling, no childish Santa Claus beliefs. What a treat! In particular, I was helped by his chapter on prayer. Once you have stepped away from the idea of a theist deity, your prayer life can be something you need to revisit and rework. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is ready to consider Christianity in a realistic, intelligent manner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24 2003
Format: Paperback
I confess-- I have something in common with most of the Rt. Rev. Spong's fans. Like them, I've read very little of what he's written. (For example, "Can A Bishop Be Wrong" has two five-star reviews from Spong fans who are under the impression that Spong wrote this book-- apparently, they feel comfortable praising Spong's work sight-unseen).
Don't get me wrong. I've tried to read Spong. But, alas, the Rt. Rev. S. is a ghastly writer. After a while, the charms of Spong's writing-- his relentless self-congratulation, his presenting of hackneyed 19th-century pop-biblical-criticism as his own daring innovation, his use of the passive voice to hide sweeping and questionable assertions ("...there is surprise at how insignificant were the theological issues dividing the two sides [of the Reformation]"), his utter lack of a sense of humor, his unforgivably poor skill with words-- begin to pall. I haven't yet met someone who can read an entire chapter of Spong at one sitting.
That's where another book comes in handy- "Can a Bishop Be Wrong?". The authors don't exhaustively categorize the intellectual sins of the Rt. Rev. Spong-- such a task could never be worth the trees killed. But they provide a good survey of his looking-glass kingdom. "Can A Bishop Be Wrong" isn't a work of Christian apologetics, because it doesn't have to be. Spong's main contention-- the foundation of all his work-- is his claim that no intelligent person of the twentieth century can be an orthodox Christian. To respond, one doesn't have to prove Christianity-- one just has to provide a counterexample. This book categorizes his errors and logical lapses with admirable thoroughness. Not an exhaustive thoroughness, to be sure, but sufficient to the silly task at hand.
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