Evangelical, fundamentalistic Protestantism and strict, traditional Roman Catholicism have many things in common. Among them is the claim that they have accessed the ultimate truth of God and are able to control that access to God for all others. I do not believe that any human individual or ecclesiastical institution can exhaust the meaning of God and I am more bored than angry at religious claims like the infallibility of the Pope and the inerrancy of the Bible. Such claims are always an attempt to buttress religious idolatry. No one who has studied history can believe in the infallibility of the papacy and no one who has ever read the Bible can believe in its inerrancy.
~John Shelby Spong
Surfers, this is part of an answer from Bishop Spong regarding claims of his critics. His response points directly at two outmoded and archaic notions that Christians are holding onto in vain. I would like to remind you of these words of Isaiah.
Isaiah likens those people who foolishly spend their resources on stuff that only disappoints them to those who pay good money for food that does not sustain life. I believe that those Christians who are burning calories defending notions like infallibility and inerrancy will only be disappointed in the end. Listen to me, surfers, life is short and happiness is within your reach. Your Priest/Pastor does not believe in these foolish notions, but they will not tell you because they are afraid. Take for example some recent advice presented at 2011 World Youth Day.
“Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart,” wrote Abba Poeman [Poemen]. Poeman [Poemen] was referring to the fact that we often amue [amuse] ourselves and spend our time with things — entertainments, conversations, etc. — which can never nourish us because we were made for greater things. That which seems harmless on the surface can gradually erode the quality and depth of our commitment to the Lord.
ARCHBISHOP J. PETER SARTAIN, MADRID, SEATTLE, THEOLOGY ON TAP, WORLD YOUTH DAY
The Isaiah message repackaged with a spin to make it seem that there are greater things and lesser things. Those lesser things can seem harmless but will erode the depth of our commitment to God? Entertainments and conversations, (such as this blog?) are examples? If God is the ground of your being you don’t have to be afraid and entertainments and conversations cannot erode your commitment. What is the Archbishop afraid of?
Bishop Spong is courageous and unafraid to tell you what your local minister will not tell you. I am unafraid to tell you that Bishop Spong is on the path that leads to God. You could be on that path also. Join in the discussion on the future of Christianity.