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By John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong, bestselling writer and Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, demanding situations the doctrine of the virgin start, tracing its improvement within the early Christian church and revealing its legacy in our modern attitudes towards ladies and feminine sexuality.

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Born of a Woman

John Shelby Spong, bestselling writer and Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, demanding situations the doctrine of the virgin delivery, tracing its improvement within the early Christian church and revealing its legacy in our modern attitudes towards ladies and feminine sexuality.

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Hence Paul called him "folly to those who are perishing" (r Cor. r:r8) and suggested that Jesus represented a scandal. How does one take that life and fit it into the expectations of either the Greeks or the Hebrews? Yet how could they deny the power of the expe­ rience men and women had with this Jesus? His love was real. His sense of presence was vivid. His magnetic appeal to others was immense. Self­ giving, suffering, powerlessness, and self-sacrifice were the marks of his human life. "3 Conflict between experience and expectation reached a climax on Good Friday.

They are valuable to us, but they are not to be literalized. When inter­ preters feel beckoned to enter the content of the birth narratives of the one called Jesus of Nazareth, they must be cognizant of these realities. Jesus was interpreted by the early Christians in terms of their as­ sumed and unquestioned concepts of God, modeled after the image of a heavenly king. The focus was on the exalted Jesus seated at the right hand of the heavenly throne. The image reflected the popular mythic understanding of the universe as a kingdom.

To explore this terrain is almost as exciting as trying to solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The birth of Christianity was an Easter event, not a Christmas event. Christianity was born in an Easter moment. Prior to whatever Easter was, there was no talk of Jesus' divinity, of incarnational concepts, or of trini­ tarian formulas. Jesus was a Jew who, after his death, was in some way believed to have been included in the very life of God. The mythological way of saying that was called the exaltation.

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