Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality
© 2001 John Shelby Spong
On YouTube, I somehow stumbled across two Christians (Marcus Borg and Bishop Spong) whose beliefs are definitely not in line with orthodox Christianity. I find their attempts to humanize their religion in the face of criticism and death threats to be somewhat noble. It takes guts to challenge one’s traditions. This book is essentially an autobiography of Spong, giving the reader what it was like to grow up in the Deep South during the Civil Rights movement, as well as insight into the Episcopalian Church, which I personally knew little about. Although Spong emerges as a very interesting man, I was somewhat disappointed that he did not delve into the details of why he changed his thinking on theological subjects. The reader can see Spong’s southern culture — patriarchy, racism, homophobia — melting away, but I couldn’t really get a firm “Ah, that was it” handle on why his mind would change beyond basic descriptions of his meeting theologians who challenged him to reevaluate orthodoxy. Although I’m not sure what I think about the book just yet, he merits listening to on YouTube for those who are curious. His religion as expressed in the videos I’ve seen is very basic: he seems to only retain Christianity as part of his culture, lacking belief in Jesus as deity and so on. I find the humanization of religion to be a very interesting subject.