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Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Ed Peters

I don't have a category for Spong, except perhaps "modern cross."


Kristof's article is confusing for another reason. If he really thinks that liberals can do battle with conservatives on the question of biblical morality, it is not clear the Spong helps this project. I suspect not only conservatives but also most moderate folks, secular and religious, would find Spong not only 'explosive' but also nutty and offensive. To have him as a point man for leftist causes would only further emphasize the left's disdain for religious sensibilities. Kristof is not only theologically confused but also politically incompetent to think Spong would do anything but add to the isolation of the left from the American mainstream.

Carl Olson

Excellent point, Danny. Kristof claims that Spong gives liberals good ammo for the culture war, but never explains what is so convincing and attractive about Spong's ideas. Besides, Spong's book is hardly "overdue," if by that Kristof means it is original or unique or somehow fills a void. Spong's tired ideas have been around for many decades: doesn't TIME and NEWSWEEK do stories every year about Paul the Gay Apostle, Jesus the Married Jewish Geek, and the Homophobic, Mean Bible? Hasn't Marcus Borg (and Spong himself) and many of the Jesus Seminar folks been blathering such nonsense for years? Wasn't all of this the rage in the '60s and '70s? Yeah, I thought so.


Kristoff's latest is part of something quite amazing, if you step back a little bit - this intense, sustained and very direct campaign now in the mainstream media against theological orthodoxy of any stripe. The optimist in me notes that great historical shifts often pass unnoticed in their infancy, and wonders if all this wailing and gnashing of teeth is a reaction to a real hunger for sustainable faith on the part of many in the Western world that could become the signature motivation of a major movement away from the self-enslaving self-indulgence that grew out of '60's pop culture and toward things like orthodox Catholic belief. Those scenes in Rome around the time of John Paul's death were really extraordinary - I'm not sure we've yet really grasped all they may have signified.

Sandra Miesel

Week by week I'm moving closer to the conclusion that it wasn't such a bad thing that Kristof got smacked with a pie while speaking in Indianapolis recently. All that stands in the way of reaching that conclusion is that it was masked anarchists who did the deed.

Sandra Miesel

My mind must have been crystalizing with that late-night post above: it was William Kristol who got pie'd, not Nicholas Kristof. Sorry.

Mark Brumley

Even Sandra nods.

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