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Jesus for the Non-Religious: Recovering the Divine at the Heart of the Humanby John Shelby Spong
Synopses & Reviews
Writing from his prison cell in Nazi Germany in 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young German theologian, sketched a vision of what he called religionless Christianity. In this book, John Shelby Spong puts flesh onto the bare bones of Bonhoeffer's radical thought. The result is a strikingly new and different portrait of Jesus of Nazareth-- a Jesus for the non-religious.
Spong challenges much of the traditional understanding that has for so long surrounded the Jesus of history, from the tale of his miraculous birth to a virgin, to the account of his cosmic ascension into the sky at the end of his life. Spong questions the historicity of the ideas that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, that he had twelve disciples, and that the miracle stories were meant to be descriptions of supernatural events. He also speaks directly to those contemporary critics of Christianity who call God a delusion and who write letters to a Christian nation and describe how Christianity has become evil and destructive.
Spong invites his readers to look at Jesus through the lens of both the Jewish scriptures and the liturgical life of the first-century synagogue. Dismissing the dispute about Jesus' nature that consumed the church's leadership for the first 500 years of Christian history as irrelevant, Spong proposes a new way of understanding the divinity of Christ: as the ultimate dimension of a fulfilled humanity. Traditional Christians who still cling to dated concepts of the past will not be comfortable with this book; however, skeptics of the twenty-first century will not be quite so certain that dismissing Jesus is the correct pathway to walk. Jesus for the Non-Religious may be the book thatfinally brings the pious and the secular into a meaningful dialogue, opening the door to a living Christianity in the post-Christian world.
The controversial bishop and moral activist attempts to wrestle Jesus from the restrictive and dogmatic binds of religion so he can become the hero the world needs.
The Pope Describes the Ancient Traditional Jesus; Bishop Spong Brings Us a Jesus Modern People Can Be Inspired By
About the Author
John Shelby Spong served the Episcopal Church as a priest and bishop for forty-five years. As a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches throughout North America and the English-speaking world, he is one of the leading spokespersons for an open and engaged Christianity. He has initiated landmark controversial discussions within the church and is an outspoken advocate for change. His twenty-plus books, including The Sins of Scripture, A New Christianity for a New World, and his autobiography Here I Stand have sold over one million copies and have been translated into most of the major languages of the world. He also writes a weekly column for WaterFrontMedia. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Morris Plains, New Jersey.
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