cover image The Bishop's Voice: Selected Essays, 1979-1999

The Bishop's Voice: Selected Essays, 1979-1999

John Shelby Spong. Crossroad Publishing Company, $19.95 (238pp) ISBN 978-0-8245-1592-8

For the past 20 years, Bishop John Spong (Why Christianity Must Change or Die) has written essays for the Newark, N.J., diocesan newsletter the Voice. His wife, Christine Spong, has collected and edited more than 50 of these essays. This collection of informal writings addresses moral issues, religion, politics and the Anglican communion and enters into conversation with other faiths. In one essay, Bishop Spong asserts that the U.S. must call its citizens to a nobler vision of unity, and that it is immoral for people to justify their distress, their hostility and even their greed for power by covering these elements with the name of Jesus. In his 1991 essay, ""Yes, Virginia, There Is a God!,"" the bishop contends that Santa Claus represents the spirit of Christmas that finds its greatest pleasure in giving rather than receiving. In like manner, he says, the word ""God"" stands for an ultimate truth that drives us beyond the symbol to the edges of our imagination. ""God"" represents the power of love that lifts us out of our self-imposed prisons and shows us what life can ultimately be. Acerbic and humorous, Bishop Spong's essays are forthright, spiritual and humane, reflecting the mind and the heart of their author. (Apr.)