DO NOT MISS THIS GREAT ESSAY: Eric Von Salzen has written one of the most insightful essays about Bishop John Shelby Spong that I have read in a long time, perhaps ever.
What Bishop Spong is refuting is not Christianity, but some weird parody of Christianity that he has created in his own imagination. This is a simplistic, village atheist performance that isn’t even challenging enough to be interesting.
. . . I’ve concluded that Bishop Spong really means what he says. He really does feel a “God-experience” while he nevertheless denies the reality of a (theistic) God; he really does find that a First Century rabbi with nothing original to say is his “doorway” into “the holiness of [the non-theistic] God.” He’s apparently able to do this because he’s been steeped in religion – and particularly the Christian religion – his whole life. He finds that he can still enjoy the feeling of being Christian, can use the name of “Christian”, even though he’s rejected the substance of Christianity. I understand that a person who has had a limb amputated may continues to feel a phantom sensation as though the missing limb were still there. This may be something like what Bishop Spong feels about God and Christ.
Full essay: Anglican Centrist: A Fool For Christ