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Progressing Spirit: Explorations on Theology, Spirituality and the News

Welcome to Progressing Spirit… Soon we will be launching a brand new website!

Progressing Spirit: Explorations on Theology, Spirituality and the News, is a dynamic new column with rotating authors, offered to subscribers each week, and an online international society dedicated to perpetuating and expanding on the work and theology of Bishop Spong.

For those seeking to experience Christianity in a new and vibrant way, Bishop John Shelby Spong and his endorsed successors offer fresh spiritual ideas. Over the past four decades, Bishop Spong has become one of the definitive voices for progressive Christianity. As a member of this mystical and progressive  online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives, access to interactive comment forums to connect you with other believers in exile, and answers to your questions in our weekly Q and A.

Our vision is that this site will be the foundation of an international society formed to perpetuate and advance Bishop Spong’s thoughts and theology. All subscribers will continue will have exclusive access to Bishop Spong’s Essay Archives, along with all the new essay columns. These hundreds of essays, written by John Spong exclusively for this site over a 16 year period, are excellent for use in research, in churches, study groups, and education.

Click here for a list of our new authors and their bios!


Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, while visiting in Marquette, Michigan I suffered a stroke. The date was September 10th. Since that time I have worked hard to regain my strength. I have been quite successful in that and now have no trouble walking or using my arms. It has been a learning experience. Health is a major demand of my life. I still use my running track each day for about three miles, so I feel most fortunate. The book I was writing on “Charting a New Reformation” will meet its deadline and be at Harper by the due date, the first of March, 2017. I entertained returning to my column, but as the time goes by I no longer have the strength to keep up that schedule, so I have informed Fred Plumer of Progressive Christianity.Org that I will not be able to return to that task. I write to notify you, my readers, and to enable Fred to begin the process to choose a successor.

That is not an easy thing to do for I have loved that column and the relationship I have had with so many of you. I realize that I can no lo longer write, edit and send a column a week out to my readers. I have written this column for sixteen years and it demands an intensity that I no longer profess. Even aided by my wife, who edited every column I ever wrote, cannot make up the difference. So we have decided to give it up.

I want to thank you all for the many letters I have received. More than thirty thousand letters have come to me since the stroke. There was no way I could acknowledge them or even respond to them, but I read every one of them and was warmed by the experience. I am now in my 86th year of life. It has been a good life and I am proud of it all. I wish I could have finished on my schedule, but that was not to be.

I ask you to give your attention to the following letter written with my blessing by my colleagues at Progressive Christianity about the future. I hope it will be the start of a major new contribution to religious journalism,





Dear Friends,

Over the last few months we have had time to think about what we could do if Jack Spong could not return to writing his regular column for us. We have worked with our team to consider what we might do if this became the eventuality, and I am very excited about what we’ve been able to put together. As a subscriber to the newsletter you have been on the inside circle as we have charted this new reformation. It has been fun, challenging, and sometimes even a little scary going into these uncharted waters. I hope you have gained great value out of it.

The next big step in the new reformation is to put what we have been talking about into widespread practice, and that’s where the next phase of this subscription newsletter comes into play. We have been able to assemble a team of some of the best and brightest authors / theologians / and movement leaders out there today who are taking these bold concepts and enlightenments and putting them into practice in the streets, pews, and on social media.

We have a few well known national lecturers and authors such as Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, Rev. Gretta Vosper, Rev. David Felten, and a close personal friend to Bishop Spong, Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, who was the first person elected bishop in the Episcopal to have his election turned down by the house of Bishops since 1875 on strictly theological grounds. In addition to those veteran voices, we have some of the most compelling leaders of the social media movement out there today, such as “Science” Mike McHargue, Rev. Mark Sandlin, Eric Alexander, and Rev. Roger Wolsey. If you haven’t heard of any of these folks I assure you they are out there in a big way helping to lead the next generations along the new reformation. These authors will be on a regular rotating schedule to write a series of columns that will not be published anywhere else, for our new Bishop Spong inspired and endorsed series, called Progressing Spirit. We envision this series forming a virtual society around the world that serves to perpetuate and expand upon his thoughts.

Over the coming weeks you will hear more from my team about this exciting new transition, and our cast of contributors. We will continue to repost some of the Spong essays of the past and maybe even an occasional new one if that becomes possible. From here I welcome you to grow with us through our next phase as I believe it will be greatly valuable and entertaining to you; but also because I know your support will be essential in growing our message exponentially around the world from here on out. By continuing to be a subscriber, you will be supporting the infinitely important work that Bishop Spong has shared with our world.

Fred Plumer, ProgressiveChristianity.org



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The Latest Essays and Q & A:

18 January 2018: “Mezuzah the $#!t Out of It”

      Rev. David M. Felten   I’m often inspired by the spiritual practices and traditions of faiths other than my own. Many of them come in handy as suggestions I can make to members of my congregation. With the exasperation many are feeling over our current political reality, I’ve had my mind on …

Read More…

11 January 2018: Unbelievable: Part II

Unbelievable began its life years ago when my daughter, Jaquelin, who owns a Ph.D. degree in physics from Stanford University said to me: “Dad, the questions the church keeps trying to answer we don’t even ask anymore!” She was not hostile. It was just a matter of fact statement. The church keeps posing issues that …

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4 January 2018: Unbelievable – Part I

      Bishop John Shelby Spong     The book has elements about it that have bordered on the miraculous. I was not sure I would ever be able to complete it. I had written about ninety per cent of this volume before I had a stroke in September of 2016. The stroke immobilized …

Read More…

Visit Essay Archive

News Items:

8 April 2015: Jesus the Cold Case – Documentary with Bishop Spong

AFTA Award for Best Documentary 2012, Winner Silver and Bronze Medals at The New York Festivals International Film and Television Awards. In his native New Zealand Bryan Bruce writes, directs and hosts the internationally successful crime show THE INVESTIGATOR in which he re- examines unsolved crimes In 2010 he decided to apply his criminal investigative …

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14 January 2015: Newly Released Book of Essays on The Birth of Jesus by Bishop Spong

Click here to purchase! We are excited to announce this just released book of essays by Bishop John Shelby Spong on Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus. While Luke’s narrative, the most detailed account of the birth of Jesus, is lyrical and inspiring, in The Birth of Jesus, Spong persuasively demonstrates it is allegory. Layer …

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22 August 2014: The Fourth Gospel in Paper Now Available for Pre-Order

Rescuing John’s Gospel from Its Creedal Captivity John Shelby Spong, bestselling author and popular proponent of a modern, scholarly and authentic Christianity, argues that this last gospel to be written was misinterpreted by the framers of the fourth-century creeds to be a literal account of the life of Jesus when in fact it is a …

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