Cover image for Here I stand : my struggle for a Christianity of integrity, love, and equality
Here I stand : my struggle for a Christianity of integrity, love, and equality
Spong, John Shelby.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 464 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX5995.S77 A3 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BX5995.S77 A3 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"If someone had told me years ago that I would create these enormous levels of both appreciation and hostility in my ordained life, I would have been dumbfounded, shocked, and probably deeply hurt. How did it happen? What created the twin emotions of praise and anger, of gratitude and fear? What forces pushed me, compelled me, or led me to play my particular role in the struggle to make the Christian church respond to the issues of our century and indeed to open new dimensions of spirituality to the citizens of this century? That is the story I seek to tell."

John Shelby Spong has spent a lifetime struggling to discover and create a more just, loving, and authentic Christian faith. Throughout his career as an Episcopal priest and bishop, he has inspired praise and gratitude among the marginalized Christians whose causes he has championed, as well as hostile resistance from traditional and conservative Christians whom he has so boldly challenged. Here I Stand reveals the private side of this very public figure, as Bishop Spong tells the story of the people and events that shaped his thoroughly contemporary yet deeply biblical theology and his commitment to liberal Christian values.

Early in his life, Spong witnessed injustices that were instrumental in awakening his moral consciousness. Growing up in the American south of the 1930s, Spong spent his childhood in an environment of racism, fundamentalism, sexism, and homophobia. The church of his time was no exception; its exclusionary attitudes and practices struck the young Southerner as contradictory to the Christianity he encountered in the Bible and heard preached from the pulpit and taught in Sunday school.

Rather than becoming disillusioned with the church and dropping out, Spong has devoted himself to reforming it, working to integrate women, blacks, gays, lesbians, and other marginalized Christians fully into the faith community better known for rejecting or marginalizing them. In the process, he has challenged the views of leaders such as Jerry Falwell, John Cardinal 0' Connor, and his own Episcopal hierarchy. He has been honored by many as a hero, while enduring harsh reactions from fundamentalists and those wedded to the status quo. Through it all, Bishop Spong has remained committed to his role as a shepherd to every member of the Christian flock. His courageous efforts have made him an inspirational symbol of a Christian church truly worthy of Jesus and the standard bearer for those who strive to be both contemporary, thinking persons and faithful, enlightened Christians.

Author Notes

Scholar, author and bishop, John Shelby Spong was born in 1931 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1952 and received his Master of Divinity degree in 1955 from the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia. That seminary and St. Paul's College have both conferred on him honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees. Ordained in 1955, he is now bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Newark, New Jersey.

As the most-published member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Spong is the author of 14 books and more than 90 articles, including Honest Prayer (1973), Dialogue ? In Search of Jewish-Christian Umderstanding (1975), The Living Commandments (1977), Into the Whirlwind: The Future of the Church (1983), Living in Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality (1988), Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture (1991), and Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (1994).

With an active interest in football, basketball and baseball, Bishop Spong was at one time a play-by-play announcer for radio stations in Tarboro, North Carolina, and Lynchburg, Virginia. In addition, he served as sports editor for The Daily Southerner in Tarboro.

Bishop Spong resides in Morristown, New Jersey.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Longtime devotees of Spong, the controversial Episcopal Bishop from Newark, N.J., will be familiar with some of the material in his new memoir, as his earlier books (Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, etc.) are peppered with autobiographical asides, but they will still relish this full-bodied, racy chronicle of Spong's political and theological journey. Liberal crusader Spong reveals that his concern for the oppressed began in his native Charlotte, N.C., while growing up in an "overtly pious home [where] racism was an operative assumption." Early on, he rejected the racism of the Jim Crow South and of the Church. Spong devotes the core of this memoir, however, to the battle that has earned him national prominence--the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals in the Episcopal Church. Spong has nothing but condescension for those who don't share his views, especially the theologically conservative bishops from the Third World. (Many African bishops disagree with Spong's stance on human sexuality, but rather than engage them, Spong suggests that they have blindly embraced the "fundamentalism" pedaled by English missionaries.) Spong's naysayers will want to steer clear of this book, which will strike them as just another restatement of his heresy, but his followers will appreciate the characteristically lively prose. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark takes a stand for inclusion. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1. Setting the Stage: The Parameters of the Debatep. 1
2. Beginnings in the Segregated Southp. 8
3. "The Man of the House": Shaping Memoriesp. 22
4. Rejection at School, Acceptance at Churchp. 34
5. The University Years: Philosophy, St. Mark's, and Wedding Bellsp. 47
6. Priestly Formation on the Holy Hillp. 62
7. My Pastoral Education in Durhamp. 78
8. Not Popular but Right: Racial Issues and Leadership Lessons in Tarborop. 93
9. A Bible Class, the Press, and More Racial Conflict in Lynchburgp. 126
10. Something for Everyone in the Cathedral of the Confederacyp. 164
11. Pushing St. Paul's Outward While Inwardly Grappling with Prayer and Pastoral Tragedyp. 182
12. Professional Highs, Personal Lowsp. 195
13. Breaking Tradition: Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Christpowerp. 222
14. Transition to the Episcopate and Developing a World Viewp. 256
15. The Heart Cannot Worship What the Mind Rejects: Entering a Dark Valleyp. 274
16. Rising from the Ashesp. 307
17. The Battle Lines Formp. 332
18. Marriage and the Year of Yearsp. 367
19. Triumphs: The Koinonia Statement, Victory in the Heresy Trial, and Worldwide Invitationsp. 384
20. From Lambeth's Ignorance and Fear to Harvard's Promise of a New Careerp. 415
Appendix A A Statement of Koinoniap. 447
Appendix B Twelve Thesesp. 453
Indexp. 455