John Shelby Spong

My inquisitive nature and my need to seek out the truth have me on a journey. That journey has led me to part ways with organized religion, the Church, and to a large degree – Christianity.

Writing that last sentence was as hard as it was frightening.

Before now, I have shared my beliefs with only two people, both of whom have been extremely supportive. One is a “faithful Christian”, who withholds any judgment, and the other was not raised in church and thereby was never “indoctrinated” (his word) with Christian teachings. It is through the many conversations with both individuals that have helped me sort though the thoughts in my head and realize that I am not crazy nor am I alone.

I am reminded of the Dr. Benjamin Mays quote,

“I’ll rather go to hell by choice then heaven by following the crowd.”

A former classmate stated on Facebook, “It’s difficult being an Independent thinker and existing in a world committed to the herd.”

I agree wholeheartedly and I forge ahead.  Take a walk with me…

Watching TV one Sunday morning, I caught a Bishop delivering a sermon. Something he said resonated with me. He was stating his case against individuals who choose not to worship God in a “church”. In essence, claiming that if you are a part of the vine (the body of Christ), you must remain connected with the source (God, i.e., the church) in order not to wither and die.

He went on to say that what makes the church “holy” is the alter and if your home does not have one it is “insufficient”.

Well, I beg to differ. The church is a building and the “act” of attending Sunday service is a “religious practice” and has very little to do with an individual’s spirituality or their relationship with God.

This was not the first time I found myself at odds with what I have heard preached and taught from the pulpit. Not long ago, this same Bishop delivered a sermon centered on adultery. In this sermon he gave his definition of adultery to be any sexual intercourse between people who are not married to each other. A big departure from Webster’s definition:

Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband; also: an act of adultery

So according to this Bishop, if I have sex with a single man we are committing adultery. Who knew…all of these years I’ve been an adulterous Jezebel – not a fornicator.

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