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Bishop Spong on God

“If the word “God” refers to the experience of recognizing that the Source of Life, which flows through the universe in limitless forms, but which comes to self-consciousness only in human beings, then the only way we can worship that which we call God is by living, living fully, and the more fully we live the more that which is ultimate, real and holy is seen in us.

If the word “God” can be identified with the Source of Love that flows through the universe, always enhancing life, for that is what love does, but only coming to self-consciousness in human beings, then the only way we can worship that which we call God is by loving, loving wastefully. Wasteful love never stops to ask whether love is due or deserved, one simply gives it away. The more we can give love away, the more that which is ultimate, real and holy will be visible in us.

If the word “God” can be understood to refer, not to a being, but to the Ground of Being in which everything that exists is ultimately rooted, but which comes to self-consciousness only in human beings, then the only way we can worship that which we call God is by finding the courage to be all that each of us can be, and then by allowing, indeed encouraging, others to be all that they can be. The more we can be our deepest, fullest selves and enable others to be their deepest, fullest selves, the more our lives will reveal that which is ultimate, real and holy. That then becomes the moment, I believe, that you and I can be said to have discovered what the ultimate purpose of religion is.

True religion is, at its core, nothing more or less than a call to live fully, to love wastefully and to be all that we can be. That is finally where life’s meaning is found. All else is background music.”

John Shelby Spong

Review & Commentary