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IM 012: Outspoken Advocate for Civil Rights in the Episcopal Church | John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong is an influential public speaker, best selling author, and retired Bishop of Newark, New Jersey.

Guest Biography

John Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001. Many of the views that once turned the former Episcopal bishop into a lightning rod are now regarded as so matter-of-fact that they barely garner much notice: ordaining gay clergy, blessing same-sex marriages, or having a female presiding bishop. His admirers acclaim him as a teaching bishop who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary layperson — he’s considered the champion of an inclusive faith by many, both inside and outside the Christian church. In one of his recent books, The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Discover the God of Love (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2005), this visionary thinker seeks to introduce readers to a proper way to engage the holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

A committed Christian who has spent a lifetime studying the Bible and whose life has been deeply shaped by it, Bishop Spong says he was not interested in Bible bashing. “I come to this interpretive task not as an enemy of Christianity,” he says. “I am not even a disillusioned former Christian, as some of my scholar-friends identify themselves. I am a believer who knows and loves the Bible deeply. But I also recognize that parts of it have been used to undergird prejudices and to mask violence.”

A visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches worldwide, Bishop Spong delivers more than 200 public lectures each year to standing-room-only crowds. His bestselling books include Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, A New Christianity for a New World, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and Here I Stand.

Bishop Spong’s extensive media appearances include a profile segment on 60 Minutes as well as appearances on Good Morning America, Fox News Live, Politically Incorrect, Larry King Live, The O’Reilly Factor, William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, and Extra. Bishop Spong and his wife, Christine Mary Spong, have five children and six grandchildren. They live in New Jersey.

Show notes: http://www.inspiredmoney.fm/012

Links

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How growing up poor in North Carolina shaped his views and compelled him to fight for what he believes.
  • What the bible teaches us about money.
  • How the Diocese of Newark grew its endowed funds from $4mm to $40mm during Jack Spong's term as Bishop.

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Special thanks to Jim Kimo West for the music.

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About the Author: Andrew Wang

Andrew Wang

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