Sunday was a real treat at church. There was a lot of energy there. There was nothing special about the day other than we had a great turnout and there was a lot of community in the air, if that even makes any sense. I am so very glad to belong to such a great parish. The music, the attention to each other, the fellowship before and after church at coffee hour, the sense of prayer and care for each other are all great marks of the community and a great sign of a people of the resurrection.
There were as well a healthy number of visitors as is often the case in our parish nowadays. There was among them a surprise. A Woman came who is a senior. She heard the CBC Morning Shift spot that I was on Ash Wednesday. She was a very well read woman and to my surprise was a great fan of Bishop John Shelby Spong. Now for those of you who do not know Spong’s work he is probably the most controversial writer the church as seen in decades. He is a retired Bishop who believes strongly in radical change and renewal. His titles include – The Sins of Scripture, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Resurrection – Myth or Reality, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalist, and so many more. In many cases he has turned the church on its ear. He has been in my mind a great gift to the church as he has caused so much dialogue and debate – which is badly needed. In any event – when I noticed our visitor on Sunday the first thought that came to my mind was not Spong. It goes to show how very wrong it is to draw conclusions too quickly. During the peace was when she revealed her personality to me – “I thought you were great on that CBC thing, the other guy was not much.” I was really kind of embarrassed “Do you read Bishop Spong’s work?” She queried. “Don’t you think the church is very slow in change?” She was a firecracker. I had a brief chat with her at the back of church and she was gone. I do hope to see her again as she was truly a breath of fresh air.
If you get a chance pick up a copy of Why Christianity Must Change or Die, fasten your seatbelt and read it. Before you flip think of my new friend Mary and how she has been able to accept that message in her stage of life. It is remarkable indeed.