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eBook Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell ePub

by John Shelby Spong

eBook Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell ePub
Author: John Shelby Spong
Language: English
ISBN: 0060762063
ISBN13: 978-0060762063
Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (September 1, 2009)
Pages: 288
Category: Bible Study & Reference
Subcategory: Christians
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 177
Formats: txt lit azw docx
ePub file: 1490 kb
Fb2 file: 1185 kb

Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life: A New Vision. In this remarkable spiritual autobiography about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he ultimately came to believe in eternal life.

Includes bibliographical references (p. -251) and index

Includes bibliographical references (p. -251) and index.

Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life: A New Vision. Categories: Religion.

writing career culminate. Eternal Life: A New Vision serves to close a circle around which I have been walking for some time and thus provides a proper conclusion to this phase of my life.

Read unlimited books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. writing career culminate. To write another book would inevitably force me to move into an entirely new field of study in a meaningful way.

Eternal Life: A New Vision doesn’t actually give us a clear vision of eternal life at al. In his final book, Spong takes us beyond religion and even beyond Christianity until he arrives at the affirmation that the fully realized human life empties into and participates in the eternity of God.

Eternal Life: A New Vision doesn’t actually give us a clear vision of eternal life at all. Spong would never do that. Instead he frees us to dream a dream of what life, eternal or otherwise, might be. (Central Coast Express). The pathway into God turns out to be both a pathway into ourselves and a doorway into eternal life.

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Bishop John Shelby Spong, author of Jesus for the Non-Religious, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Sins of Scripture, and many other books, is known for his controversial ideas and fighting for minority rights. In Eternal Life: A New Vision, a remarkable spiritual journey about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he came to a new conviction about eternal life.

In Eternal Life: A New Vision, a remarkable spiritual journey about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death .

In Eternal Life: A New Vision, a remarkable spiritual journey about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he came to a new conviction about eternal life. God, says spong, is ultimately one, and each of us is part of that oneness.

Although I have much affection and admiration for retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, I found this book disappointing

Spong is quite happy to rid religion of both heaven and hell, having never been a fan of either. The fact is that if you and I live our lives motivated by our desire to gain paradise or to avoid eternal punishment, then we have not escaped the basic self-centeredness of life that is so natural to survival-oriented, self-conscious creatures. Although I have much affection and admiration for retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, I found this book disappointing. I was quite intrigued to learn his thoughts on what may await us after death, but these are old concepts for all but the most literal-minded fundamentalists.

Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life: A New Vision. In this remarkable spiritual autobiography about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he ultimately came to believe in eternal life.
Zainn
Although this is not a new offering from John Shelby Spong (it was published in 2010) I just got around to reading it. He says in the first line of the "Preface," that "This may well be my final book" but goes on to say that he has written his "last book" at least five times now so I for one am hoping that he has another one in him. I couldn't put the book down and although I want to reread it, I am breaking my rule of never lending a book. Two good friends are on the receiving end of my temporary lending library.

This book is quintessential Spong in that although riff with serious, profound topics-- surely no question is more important that whether or not we live after death-- it is written in clear, thoughtful language for the average lay reader and calls into question the more tradition views on Christianity. The complete title ETERNAL LIFE: A NEW VISION - BEYOND RELIGION, BEYOND THEISM - BEYOND HEAVEN AND HELL pretty much sums up Bishop Spong's beliefs on the subject. He sees God apart from religion. "There is no supernatural God who lives above the sky or beyond the universe. . . Heaven and hell are human constructs designed to make fair in some ultimate way the unfairness of life." He goes on to say that he recoils when he writes such words, "for this traditional definition of God has been my companion from the earliest days of my life," and states further that "the fact that the way we thought of God in our past has died does not mean that God has died or that there is no God." In short, no religious tradition is too delicate or sacred for this gentle, thoughtful seeker of truth to dismantle. He sets forth his "vision" by discussing his own life and says that this is the only way he could get into the subject. He learned first of death as a young child when he found a pet fish floating in an aquarium, then a pretty-much absent grandparent died, whose death did not have that much of an impact on him, but he really grieved when his pet dog died. Spong's mother said that death happened to old people, something he began to question when two young classmates were killed in an accident.

In this relatively short book, not much over 200 pages, Bishop Spong says so much that makes so much sense, and he says it so much better than I can summarize or paraphrase, but here are just a few of his many statements that resonated with me: Churches seem to prefer child-like members who do not think for themselves; fewer and fewer people care what fundamentalists think; we must dance with death before we can rejoice in life; it is difficult to be a biblical literalist if you actually read the Bible; and the primary function of religion is to provide security.

In the "Epilogue" Spong discusses the right to die; he does not mean suicide but the right to end a life in a meaningful-- he would say-- beautiful way. We should have that choice; if we are unable to make that choice, than a family member or beloved friend should make that decision for us. It should never be made, however, by a non-interested third party such as a physician or other health care professional. But before the epilogue, he ends with what once again I must quote verbatim: "If someone were to pose to me the question that was posed by the mythical biblical character of Job so long ago--'If a man [or a woman] dies, will he [or she] live again?'--my answer would be yes, yes, yes. . . So I end this book by calling you to live fully, to love wastefully, to be all that you can be and to dedicate yourselves to building a world in which everyone has a better opportunity to do the same. That to me is to be part of God and to do the work of God. That to me is to be a disciple of Jesus. Finally, that to me is the way to prepare for life after death. Shalom."
Tat
I was totally in synch with Bishop Spong through the first 13 chapters. But in chapter 14, “The Approach of the Mystics,” he began to leave me behind. I am simply not a mystical person!

Chapter 15, “Resurrection: The Symbol or the Reality,” on the other hand, is brilliant! Spong has a special gift of putting words together for maximum impact. Some of his words and descriptions were hard to read, e.g., pg. 178: “In that cruel world of harsh political repression, victims of execution were normally dumped unceremoniously into a common grave and quickly covered over.... wild dogs (might make) nature’s recycling process ever quicker....” It makes me cringe to visualize Jesus being dumped into a common grave! How awful!!! As far as the resurrection itself is concerned, Spong points out that that the biblical writers don’t agree that there was a tomb. “The empty tomb, so romanticized in our Easter stories,” he writes, “probably never existed. What does it do to our literal-thinking minds to realize that if there was in fact no literal tomb, then a literal body could not have walked out of it....” The biblical stories that mention a tomb also don’t agree on who went to the tomb – or if the resurrection was a resuscitated physical body or a spirit that floated through walls or a powerful spiritual presence. The stories don’t even agree on the Ascension: the book of Acts has it happening 40 days after resurrection, while the gospel of John intimates a much shorter period of time. (My own note: Matthew and the original Mark don’t mention the Ascension at all, the lack of which strikes me as an “interesting” omission.) Regardless, tomb or no tomb, physical resurrection or not, it is clear that Jesus’ spirit lived on in a very real way to turn his disciples from sniveling cowards into world-burners! SOMETHING happened! Chapter 15 was stunning, the best on this subject that I have ever read! I will reread it over and over again.

The remainder of the book deals primarily with how and whether eternal life is possible with a “God” who is the “Ground of Being.” Although I caught glimmers of what Spong was talking about, he ventured into what for me were mystical explanations to which I couldn’t relate, at least not yet. I’m working on it...

In a sense (or so it seems to me), the “Ground of Being” is “God” within my being. I have long since been unable to relate to a God “up there” or a God “out there.” Now I’m having a hard time relating to a God “in there.” (Oh I know that’s a gross over-simplification of God as “Ground of Being,” but descriptions fail me when I try to express thoughts like this in my own words.) So I’m still trying to figure it all out, who/what/where is “God,” and exactly how does this lead me to believe in any kind of a personal eternity.

The book ends with a chapter about life and death issues, including physician-assisted death. I applaud Spong for bringing up this important subject that is too often approached with the idea that “God brings life and only God should take life.”

Christianity and the world needs more Spongs!!! I need more Spong, so I have bought several more of his books. This one is great book!
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