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Progressing Spirit Newsletter


Bishop Spong retired from writing this column in September 2016.


A New Christianity for a New World has transitioned to: Progressing Spirit: Explorations on Theology, Spirituality and the News



Join us in Explorations on Theology, Spirituality and the News at Progressing Spirit, a dynamic new online magazine offered to subscribers each week, with rotating authors, who are endorsed by Bishop Spong, and an 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 Progressing Spirit’s online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives, access to message boards which will connect you with other believers in exile, and answers to your questions in our weekly Q and A.




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



Letter From Bishop Spong:

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, while visiting in Marquette, Michigan I suffered a stroke. The date was September 10. 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 ProgressiveChristianity.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.


What Does This Mean for Subscribers?

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 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,


We are proud to be able to present this vibrant Progressive Christian voice to the world and partner with such a remarkable person.  Bishop Spong has been an inspiration for hundreds of thousands of people evolving in their faith and we are honored to be working with him.




Who is Bishop John Shelby Spong?


John Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001. His admirers acclaim him as a teaching bishop who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary layperson — he’s considered the champion of an inclusive faith by many, both inside and outside the Christian church. In one of his recent books,The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Discover the God of Love (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2005), this visionary thinker seeks to introduce readers to a proper way to engage the holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

A committed Christian who has spent a lifetime studying the Bible and whose life has been deeply shaped by it, Bishop Spong says he was not interested in Bible bashing. “I come to this interpretive task not as an enemy of Christianity,” he says. “I am not even a disillusioned former Christian, as some of my scholar-friends identify themselves. I am a believer who knows and loves the Bible deeply. But I also recognize that parts of it have been used to undergird prejudices and to mask violence.”

A visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches worldwide, Bishop Spong delivers more than 200 public lectures each year to standing-room-only crowds. His bestselling books include Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, A New Christianity for a New World, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and Here I Stand.

Bishop Spong’s extensive media appearances include a profile segment on 60 Minutes as well as appearances on Good Morning America, Fox News Live, Politically Incorrect, Larry King Live, The O’Reilly Factor, William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, and Extra.Bishop Spong and his wife, Christine Mary Spong, have five children and six grandchildren. They live in New Jersey.

In January 2011, took over the management and publishing of the Bishop Spong Newsletter- A New Christianity for a New World.

For those seeking to experience Christianity in a new and vibrant way, Bishop John Shelby Spong offers fresh spiritual ideas. Over the past four decades, he has become one of the definitive voices for progressive Christianity.