After attending a lecture by Bishop Spong last night my suspicions that I'd gained after reading his auto biography were confirmed, I do like him and just like his book he comes across as a genuine good bloke. And indeed was certainly not the devil incarnate as certain people in my past life had made him out to be.
He seems to be very passionate about Jesus and also the bible, almost makes me want to read the good book again. But he is working from a very different place than a lot of Christians I know. Even so it was still refreshing to hear someone asking the big questions about the contradictions and the pain and destruction that exists in the bible and also perpetrated by the Church.
He seemed to summarise everything by saying. We are Holy, We are loved and we are called to be everything we were created to be. All good stuff. He also told story of a church sign he once saw that stated the only pre requisite to communion "is that you are hungry", just beautiful.
On reflection though i think it's all too easy to demonize all Evangelicals as biblical literalists where I don't actually believe this to be the case, certainly my own study at such a college didn't teach that type of biblical interpretation. Context and Genre were very important. Although looking at scientific research didn't seem to get mentioned.
I've still not read any of this primary books but do hope to, but have a reasonable idea of the sorts of things he says and suspect I may not agree with everything but I still respect the man because he's one who asks & welcomes questions + anyone who pisses off the conservative evangelicals of my past gets my thumbs up!