Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Was Spong Wrong?

For some reason, people are still reading John Shelby Spong. His recent article in the Washington Post is titled "Good Show, Poor Theology."

When I first read the title, I thought: "He must be talking about a rather up-the-candlestick Anglo-Catholic parish in TEC." You know the kind. Appareled amices and albs on every server. Chanted Psalms, sung gospels, and solemnities abounding. A priest that enters in cassock, surplice, hood, tippet, cope, zuchetto and biretta, then changes during the anthem into alb, amice, crossed stole, silk cincture, and chasuble. Lot's of bells, smells, bowing and wowing - but the sermon is about the latest episode of 60 Minutes or the View.

No such luck. Instead, Mr. Spong was talking about Dr. Rick Warren's forum for Obama and McCain. He went on to say this:
Homosexuality is no more a choice for gay and lesbian people than heterosexuality is a choice for straight people. It takes a while for that knowledge to trickle down to the masses. Prejudice lives only in the untrickled down gaps. The condemnation of homosexuality as a sin or as a distortion by the hierarchy of the Vatican or the leaders of evangelical Christianity is simply a sign that both groups live in the backwaters of knowledge and education. As this knowledge spreads, those groups will look like what they are - dated people similar to the members of the Flat Earth Society.
Tell you what, Spong... I'll publicly acknowledge that "homosexuality is no more a choice for gay and lesbian people than heterosexuality is a choice for straight people" if you'll publicly acknowledge that there might be a reason other ignorant prejudice for resistance to homosexual acts.


Jim Jordan said...

Spong never offers up any real evidence for what he believes. New = enlightened. Old = Flat Earth.

I can see why "clergy" like him exist. God uses heretics to draw the foolish out into the open.

Jim Jordan said...

And, of course, Spong is always wrong.

Stan said...

I'm still trying to figure out the logic. "If it's natural, it's moral." Is that it? If a person is "born that way", it means it's good? So the person with the natural tendency to addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex) is certainly good in indulging that natural tendency. Kind of like poison ivy, isn't it? It's natural, so why not revel in it?

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...


As Tennyson said, nature does have a law "red in tooth and claw" - but I'm not certain it's one that should set the moral standard for humane ethics.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

I am never surprised when I now hear people who support the normalization of aberrant activity use the "I was born that way" canard. Especially after hearing Dr. Rob Gagnon say many times, "Yeah and what is your point?".

Doug Hagler said...

On behalf of Spong, Chris, I'd say that's a deal.

Thanks for the public acknowledgment :)

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...


I never said the orientation is a choice. What we do with that orientation is a choice.

I chose one way and, surprise of all surprises, my passions began to follow my will! It's what any culture that prizes temperance has discovered.

As for public acknowledgment, I'd say it more but my mouth is all dry from being breathed through. I'd type it more, but my knuckles hurt from dragging along the ground.