By Rev. John D. Wessel
This paper is divided into three parts. Each part needs the others to make sense.
Part 1 – Outlines the context in which the modern church finds itself.
Part 2 – Is where I currently stand. It sets out the dogma and theology I can no longer believe or accept and transforms it into new possibilities.
Part 3 – Shows a way forward for the church into the future.
Why is it that 85% of children who leave Catholic Schools now no longer maintain their church attendance? Why did the Qld Uniting Church Synod close its Bookshop & Mission Dept? ‘The National Church Life Survey’ revealed that only 8% of people in UC are aged between 15- 29 year of age.
Only 12% of people in Australia regularly attend church – 88% do not attend. In 2008 I heard the then UC Qld Moderator say –“the church is willing to let smaller congregations close.” In all our congregations the hair is white. Where are the youth? What does this say about the future of the church? Why are so many members walking away and there is no real effort to understand the cause of this.
Why is this happening? Well, to have a resurrection there has to be a death.
I believe the church has not understood the effects that the post- modern cultural change is having on the thinking of the young, or else, does not want to see it. The church has stopped having a conversation with post- modern culture and young people live under a cloud of darkness that the churches do not understand.
By clinging to the past we not only lose sight of the present but we fail to allow the future to be born. Hugh Mackay (1999) defines post-modernism as a…
cultural shift so radical that it amounts to the discovery of a new way of thinking … a new kind of change is taking place in our society… we are at a turning point…these recent changes have affected Australians’ view of life and religious faith in a very profound and irreversible manner (1)
The church is unable to admit to what I will later say in this paper because, if it does, it will lose its power over people and a whole new way of telling the Christian story will have to be developed.
The Tipping Point began with the Enlightenment, with the birth of science and reason with people like Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Darwin. This period was followed by the growth of the secular society, globalisation, a pluralistic world modern technology and communication, materialism and rapid transportation which made the world a much smaller place. Prior to this period the most common understanding of the word “faith” meant holding a certain set of “beliefs”, believing a set of statements to be true.
After the Reformation faith began to mean “believing the right things”. However, the Enlightenment identified truth with factuality and called into question the factuality of parts of the Bible and of many traditional Christian teachings. Today, progressive Christianity has become more about the way one lives than about propositions or dogma.
All this became a threat to many within the church from around 1900 on—especially for the powerbrokers. They either retreated, because of fear, into fundamentalism or fiddled at the edges in all kinds of ways and have not been prepared to face the hard questions until maybe it’s too late. There are three way to see life and each has a particular way of responding. First, we can see reality as hostile and threatening so we respond to life defensively. The second is to see life as indifferent to the whole. The response is likely to be concerned primarily for ourselves and those who are important to us. This led to individualism. The third way is to view “what is” as life- giving and nourishing, that which is filled with wonder and beauty. This leads to trust; it frees us from the anxiety of self-preoccupation and the concern to protect the self with systems of security and thus leads to the ability to love, to be present in the moment. It generates a “willingness to spend and be spent” for the sake of a vision that goes beyond ourselves. It is the kind for life we see in Jesus. Or, to use words from Paul, it leads to a life marked by freedom, joy, peace, and love. For this reason you will see that I have moved away from an understanding of the Christian faith as a set of propositions to be believed or of a dogma to be followed, to a way of life that is to be lived in the present.
The current package we received some 2000 years ago, came out of a completely different culture and worldview, and is no longer adequate to deal with the challenge of this age. Young people will no longer accept what the church teaches.
We are living through what may well be the greatest time of change in Christian history.
What I now have to say is partly inspired by Noel Preston in his book Beyond the Boundary. (2) Firstly I need to declare that there are several propositions considered by many as central to the traditional Christian package that I can no longer accept.
I do not believe in the literal interpretation of the creation mythology found in the Book of Genesis. The Universe came into being 13.7 billion years ago and the planet Earth 4.5 billion years ago.
The story of creation in Genesis is Israel’s story not God’s story. The central meaning of the Garden of Eden story is about the birth of self-consciousness with the inevitable result of self-concern. It remains timeless because it is metaphorically our story – it is my story. It tells about when we become conscious of good and evil. It’s a story about who we are and what we should be like.
The second story of creation (Genesis 2:1 – 3:24) was written around 900 BCE following a long oral period and the first story (Genesis 1:1 – 2:4) was given birth orally during the Babylonian exile in the late 500 BCE as part of the attempt to keep the people of Israel separate from the Babylonians and establish the Sabbath as a day of rest. It was written down prior to 163 BCE following the Babylonian exile as was the Book of Daniel and was one of the last writing of the Hebrew Bible. Thus I do not believe in the doctrine of “original sin” that grew out of this creation myth via Augustine. Nor therefore can I believe in the need for human redemption through the death of Jesus that had its birth in this mythology. It has been the “fall” and its resulting distortion of God’s creation that has been the bedrock of the way we have told the Jesus story. Without the “fall” there was no need for Jesus to come to our aid. Christianity became a religion of both violence and guilt which was encouraged liturgically. If Christianity is to have a future it must find a New Point of entry, a New Way of telling its story to a post- modern world.
The redemption model has been the most influential, prevailing, and underlying pattern of thought in Christian thinking about God. This understanding was shaped by the thought patterns and the world-view of Jewish and early Christian culture, and suffers from the limitations of an outmoded cosmology. If we have no understanding of this there is little hope for church doctrine to be relevant in today’s society.
I do not believe that the Bible is an infallible document or that, for all times, has to be considered as “the word of God” nor do I believe that the Bible can be understood apart from the culture, the worldview, the agenda of the various writers, and the history within which it was written. However it does contain Truth and is a precious heritage for Christians.
I do not believe that anyone can understand the New Testament until they are prepared to see it through Jewish eyes. Christianity (The Way) for the first 88 years of its life existed within Judaism as a sect. Each Sabbath the Jews read part of the Torah and it would take one year to complete this task. Some ask, why do the synoptic gospels see Jesus’ ministry lasting one year while John sees it as three years? Why? Mark wrote his interpretation about Jesus so it could be read alongside the Torah each Sabbath. However it was too short and the readings only lasted six months. Matthew and Luke filled it out to cover the whole year. (For a detailed account see John Spong’s “Liberating the Gospels”) By the time John’s gospel was written the time factor of one year had lost its necessity as the followers of The Way had been thrown out of the Synagogue and the Greco/Roman influence had taken over which is evident in this gospel.
We need to ask, what was the Jesus experience that compelled his followers to stretch the words of the stories available to them (their scriptures, festivals such as (Passover -Shavuot – Rosh Hashanah – Yom Kippur – Sukkoth – and Hanukkah), traditions, and midrash story telling) to enable those words to be big enough to capture their experience of Jesus? I hear them saying, we have met and encountered in the life of the man Jesus everything that we mean by the word “God”. They tried to say, in their own Jewish way, that in his humanity they had found a doorway into the meaning of transcendence, into the reality of the Divine Mystery.
I do not believe that God is some kind of anthropomorphic old man in the sky who is ‘elsewhere’ and who sometimes intervenes in human affairs. This is an ancient and man-made theistic definition of God. Where this definition went wrong was in assuming that such an image equated with reality. I do believe however in a Divine Mystery- that which is ‘everywhere, beyond us, and yet part of all that is; a Divine Mystery that is indescribable. Thus I try not to use the word “God” as it carries with it the baggage of the Theistic definition whether we mean it or not; that definition is part of the tradition of that word; I prefer to use the word “Divine Mystery” and leave it at that. Paul Tillich described God as the “Ground of All Being”. I see that my “being” not only is part of but participates in the “being” of this Mystery. This Mystery then becomes not a separate entity, but the depth dimension of being itself, which is present in every living thing but comes to self-consciousness only in human life. This links us with eternity and with timelessness. The Divine Mystery is present whenever a person transcends human boundaries and sees the portrait of unity, not separation. It is the journey beyond the fear of loneliness into a new wholeness. Having said all that I also believe that at the heart of the Christian Story is the Divine Mystery. Without a robust affirmation of the reality of the Divine presence, Christianity makes no sense.
I do not believe that Jesus was conceived independent of sperm being implanted by a human father; however I can say with confidence that “God was in Christ” What does this mean? The Divine Mystery is beyond and within all that is however, in the man Jesus this presence was obvious; his life was filled with the Spirit of the Divine. In Jesus’ life we see what a human life full of the Divine Mystery looks like. Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of Christianity is that we find the revelation of the Divine in a human person, an affirmation unique among the major religions of the world. This affirmation, through its founder, was a major factor which gave birth to the Muslim faith. Although often associated only with Jesus the notion of incarnation can be understood most fully when it also includes Jesus followers, called, like Jesus, to enflesh the Spirit in divinely human ways.
I do not believe all the so-called miracles attributed to Jesus necessarily occurred as they were described by the Jewish writers. I do believe in the miraculous life-changing power of Jesus.
I do not believe in the literal, historical account of the resurrection that say, could be photographed. I do believe that the account, as recorded in some of the gospels, is a metaphor used as an attempt to describe an experience that was real for those who knew the man Jesus. I believe that this metaphor was an attempt to explain how the ‘spirit’ of Jesus could not be silenced by his death and that Jesus’ spirit continued to live on in his followers, and still does. Resurrection, as described in some gospels, was an interpretation by the writers, (who were not present at that time and who wrote some 40 to 60 years after the event) of an inner, subjective experience and was told, as it was, in an endeavour to explain the continuing “spirit” of Jesus in the lives of his followers long after his death. It was some time after the crucifixion, when his followers had returned home and began to reflect on the experience of Jesus, that they perceived spiritually his true greatness and realised that he had demonstrated what the Kingdom of God is meant to be. They were empowered by this insight to continue his work. This is what has been reported in the New Testament. This report was strongly influenced by their Jewish faith and cultural traditions; they were men of their times.
It moved those who would later read this story to recognise that the divine and the human are not separate, but that the human is the vessel in which the divine lives and through which the Divine Spirit continues to work in the world. I no longer look for the sacred or for ultimate meaning in some distant place beyond this world. I rather seek these realities in every moment and in every relationship.
The story of the resurrection is a metaphor. The main function of the metaphorical approach is to keep a text from being confined to any historical, literal past event. Metaphor has the ability to be timeless.
I do not believe that Christianity is the only way God’s truth comes to humanity. While Jesus defines for some of us the Divine Mystery, the Divine Mystery is not confined to this description; but for me personally, Jesus is my doorway into the Divine Mystery. Others may find another doorway.
I do not believe that the creeds are helpful as they are dated, political and divisive. As long as the then cosmology and worldview which the creedal game assumed held together, that authority survived. But that is no longer the case. Prior to Constantine and the Counsels of the early centuries the Christians were a persecuted people; however, after those events, the Christian Church became persecutor of any who held different beliefs. The Creeds became the yard stick and human definitions that must be accepted for one to be Christian, and still does.
I do not believe that Christianity was helped by Western intervention because it literalised Jewish metaphor. The most self-destructive strategy ever adopted by Western religion was its insistence upon the literal reality of its mysteries and miracles. It held, and still does, that these mysteries could be true only if they were literally true; it disregarded the truth of metaphor and symbol, opting instead for the truth of fact and history. Is it any wonder that the religious stories of the West have been treated like nursery rhymes or fairy stories, things we outgrow and leave behind. However it was that intervention by the West that has sustained Christianity to this day, for better or for worse.
I do not believe in fundamentalism in any religion be it in Christianity, Islam or Judaism. Fundamentalism is never a search for truth but always a search for security. It has its base in fear; fear of the modern world with all its uncertainties. Fundamentalists cling to flat earth science and anything that challenges their belief in an interventionist God-out-there is strongly and often violently resisted because it will unravel their incredible bundle of beliefs. Fundamentalists have no compromise and are not open to dialogue. There’s is the last stronghold of what is not relevant any more in religion. However the door must always remain open to fundamentalists who are part of the wider Christian family. Respect and conversation on ethical or other issues, not theological ones, is possibly the way forward.
David Tacey says: (3)
In the contemporary world, where so much is open and uncertain, where traditions have been shaken or overturned, where we stand almost naked before the spirit, there is a strong counter-revolutionary force: a desire for absolute certainty, religious security, and nostalgic traditionalism. Fundamentalism offers us a parodic version of our need to turn back to the past, only there the turn back is a full-blown regression, a deliberate and systematic retreat from the demands and revolutions of the modern period. This is not going back in order to move forward, but going back to escape the tensions and complexities of a difficult period.
I do not believe in man-made dogma created by the church that ‘must’ be believed, so as to keep the powerbrokers within the church secure. But I can rejoice in the new found spirituality.
Noel Preston says, (4)
To me spirituality refers to the human quest to live life with a meaning and a purpose that is linked to a sense of transcendence, that is, a consciousness that we are part of a reality beyond ourselves. It has to do with wholeness, not perfection. We cultivate our spirituality in our ‘inner life’ as we cultivate, maybe unconsciously, authenticity, integrity, hope and love. Spirituality is less concerned with the external trappings of religion, including creeds and catechisms, and more concerned with fostering compassion, and an inner awareness of connectedness to all life. Spirituality expresses a faith stance rather than the assertion of beliefs.
I do not believe in intercessory prayer; asking a distant, elsewhere God to intervene and change the natural order of things so as to please me. Prayer will always be exercised in accordance with each person’s subjective definition of the Divine Mystery. To me the Divine Mystery is everywhere in the universe, transcendent and immanent, beyond and within each of us and is that which shares our woundedness and our rejoicing not to change the natural tapestry that is woven into the very fabric of life with its joys and sorrows, its laughter and its tears but to be with us in all our living. Therefore my “Prayer” is the way I live and the way I love. I like what John Spong says:” Prayer is the conscious human intention to relate to the depths of life and love and thereby to be an agent of the creation of wholeness in another.” (5)
Prayer then becomes less about crying out to an elsewhere God and more about seeking a state of union with the Divine Mystery and, in love, equipping oneself to be an agent who can attempt to address the needs that confront us all. Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer is an example of this type of praying, Grant me the serenity to ...... courage to …. and wisdom to……do something about these circumstances.
So prayer is living in a way that seeks a self-conscious connectedness with the Divine Mystery so I can experience connectedness with all beings. Meditation and/or contemplation on the inner presence and purpose of the Divine becomes important in this process. There is a truth in the statement that “prayer is a way of loving; it helps us to focus on specific individual and/or group needs”. But we still need to ask,” To whom is prayer (in its common understanding) offered?” If the sacred is part of all that is and the source of life, love and all being, then the Divine Mystery is within each of us, part of who we are. In that case contemplation not prayer is the best course to follow. However, as part of the contemplation experience, one needs to then ask, “What can I now do to help this situation?” Contemplation is a means of focusing on specific needs; a way of loving, but love without an outward demonstration, without action, is hollow. Contemplation is the way of equipping oneself to be an agent of Love.
I do not believe that my body will exist after my death (life is finite) nor will my consciousness or self-consciousness exist but, because I am part of an interconnected whole, a oneness with all that is, and because the Divine Mystery is also one with all that is and everywhere (even incarnate in me), I will die into the Divine Mystery. I have no idea what that will mean. I am content and at peace with this. The goal of all religion is not to prepare us to enter the next life; it is a call to live life to its full now, to love now, to “be all we are capable of being” now and in that way to taste what it means to be part of a life that is eternal, a love that is barrier-free and the being of a fully self-conscious humanity. That is the doorway into a universal consciousness that is part of what the words “Divine Mystery” mean. It becomes the universal pathway into the meaning of life that is eternal.
The concept of life after death in some place called ‘heaven’ was created to make an unfair world appear fair. It had its birth in the second part of the Book of Daniel when persecution made life on earth very difficult. When belief in life after death began to fade in Western civilization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was replaced by left wing politics. Left wing politics was born to fill the vacuum where this fairness for all found a new expression. However the obsession to create an earthly fairness soon was replaced by a spirit of greed and amorality by all in this new political arena. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. This change in religious belief is an underlying issue that motivates Christian literal fundamentalists to vote for right wing politicians. However people started to act as if they could do whatever they wanted to do in order to get their share of the jungle called life. No one else mattered. This was certainly not the Way of Jesus.
I do not believe in the Millennialist reading of Revelation as a guide to how the world will end. Apocalyptic writings flourished in Judaism about 200BCE to 100 CE. The second half of Daniel (165BCE) is an example. Revelation is a book of visions. Visions are rarely literal. These visions were directed to specific communities in Asia Minor at a particular time in history and not to some unknown time in the future. The 666 donates ‘Caesar Nero’. The “new heaven and the new earth” will come about when the Kingdom of God rules, as understood by Jesus, and not the kingdoms of dominate earthly powers. I do however believe that if the world is to come to an end it will take place because of modern technology and weapons along with mankind’s hatred for each other and the dominance of earthly powers.
In opening this final section I want to recall a significant turning point in early Christianity. It is this: before Constantine, the mark of a Christian was all about what a person did and how they lived. After Constantine it was about what a person believed. We have been locked into this position for just on 2000 years. It’s about time we returned to the Way of Jesus.
Having removed all of the dogma that ‘must’ be believed what then is the New Story that needs to be lived by the followers of Jesus? What is the “Good News?” Well. I need to, at this point, let John Spong have a say:
I believe Christianity is in deep decline because it cannot bring itself to face self-consciously the fact that the presuppositions on which our faith story was erected in the past are today no longer self-evidently true or even believable. These problems cannot be addressed by tinkering around the edges of our theological formularies or structures. We are living through a cataclysmic transition from the presuppositions by which we once lived- and having no idea how to tell our faith story in terms of the emerging world view for which our religion of yesterday has no relevance. So churches are dying, vast anger, rising out of cultural depression at the loss of yesterday’s meaning, and unstoppable changes, are now our daily bread.
Before we can move to address these issues we must first understand them. Church business as usual is a prescription not only for disaster, but for extinction.
While what I have said may shock some, I can assure my reader that I do not disown my Christian formation. I have said what I have said in this paper because of my deep desire that my church, which I have served for more than 50 years, will find new life and a new way forward into the future. Others calling themselves Christian may disown me – that’s their choice. For me, the Christian tradition remains my ‘home’. For me Christianity is not, nor ever was, static or doctrinal. Christianity is a pathway we walk, a journey we take, into the Divine Mystery. The journey I now take is a journey into practice, it’s a journey into experience; it’s a journey of connection with people, and not just ideas. Jesus is the key historical indicator of this. I seek and affirm a spirituality that is in harmony with the spirit that was within the Christ which I believe was lived out and taught by Jesus of Nazareth. I seek to be a follower of “the Way.”
What does that mean? Well, for a start I begin with Jack Spong’s statement:” To Jesus, each person bore God’s image, each person was worthy of God’s love, and therefore each person had the potential to grow into the full life of God’s Spirit.”(6) This means to walk in his footsteps is to be conscious of the indwelling of the Divine Spirit in my life which directs the way I live, how I relate to others and the world at large as it did in Jesus’ life; it means to endeavour to live by Jesus’ Way. What is that Way? As I read his life and attend to his teachings I see it as follows.
The New Story (Michael Morwood’s term) needs to teach and live unconditional love for all, as did Jesus. Such a vision is of a renewed community built around the ideal of love, and understood in personal, political, economic and social terms as a community of systemic eco-justice. If love matters in our personal and private lives then we must find ways to give it expression in the public and political arena. Love is grounded in the interconnectedness of all life (not just human life) and addresses our mutual belonging as a species and across species. St. Paul reminds us that all our achievements are hollow and sterile if we fall short of unconditional love. Love reflects the very heart of the Divine Mystery. Love is a verb not a noun.
“God is love and he who lives in love lives in God and God lives in him”.
The New Story must also endeavour to break down all the barriers that divide whatever those barriers may be and wherever they may be found. There are so many barriers we erect, barriers that separate and divide, even barriers to keep people out of the church if their understanding is different (see the story of Peter Kennedy in Brisbane). Coupled with this is the need within the New Story to eradicate prejudice in all its forms. Inclusiveness for all is a keystone and needs to be central in any New Story. For some to be ‘Chosen’ means that there are others who are ‘Unchosen’ (excluded). This is seen time and time again in church dogma and especially in fundamentalist teaching, but never in the teaching or the life of Jesus. Jesus’ Way was also without fear or favour; he fearlessly spoke out against the rigid laws of the Synagogue that were exclusive in so many ways. His was a life and teaching about compassion, peace, respect, tenderness, grace and love and underpinning all of the above was justice which includes systemic justice for all.
The New Story needs to stop concentrating on the after-life, judgement, and the rescue role of Jesus and face the spiritual and practical needs in this life. The church needs to discover this New Story about Jesus’ Way, proclaim it and live it. It would then find itself “Celebrating being” and discover the resurrected spirit of Jesus being today alive in all his followers; this is the kind of resurrection I can believe in. Such a community would again experience Jesus’ spirit alive within it, in each individual, and in the life of the world. ‘Celebration of life’ in all its forms would be part of who we are in the here-and-now.
Helping all people to find life in all its fullness (whatever that means for each and every individual person ) would again become the goal of this new and exciting spiritual body that we would be proud to call,’ the body of Christ’.
Some time ago I asked Lloyd Geering ‘What is your vision for any future Spiritual Community?” He replied “The Kingdom of God”. I didn’t know what he meant until I read his book “Christian Faith at the Crossroads”. So finally, I now believe that, not only the most important, most central insight into the Christian faith that was taught and lived by Jesus, and often overlooked today, is that of the Kingdom of God (Which is the positive Way of life described in the New Story above). Jesus’ entire inclusive theme was that of the Kingdom of God. This phrase appears 140 times in the four Gospels. He lived his whole life in bondage to an occupying foreign kingdom which ruled as a dominate power over Israel.
Throughout its history Israel knew many such dominant powers. His followers could clearly see and understand the enormous difference between the dominant controlling power of Rome and that of the Kingdom of God.
This difference is not so clear for modern people living in Australia so this brings me to the use of language. Language dictates and controls our lives more than most of us realise. New language is often necessary to move us in the direction of new possibilities. The word ‘Kingdom’ is alien to most of us; we have no direct experience of living under a king. We need to change our terminology. Diarmuid O’Murchu reminds us that John Dominic Crossan offers this change; he changes the words ‘Kingdom of God’ to a ‘Companionship of Empowerment’; he goes on to say:
The Companionship of Empowerment challenges and transcends the competitive individualism so endemic to our time and which was quite alien to the time and culture of Jesus. The Companionship of Empowerment envisaged in the life and ministry of Jesus is that of setting relationships right, creating communities and networks which transformed justice, healing and forgiveness, empowering love and an enduring liberation. We are to be mutually empowered to do this together. (7)
So from here on, in this paper, I have replaced Jesus’ “Kingdom of God” with a new terminology:-Companionship of Empowerment which today is closer to the original dynamism of what Jesus was on about. With this new language and the vision it embodies, Christianity stands a much better chance of becoming once more the dangerous memory it was always meant to be.
The Companionship of Empowerment offers life in all its fullness. It cares about what happens to others. The resurrection was a metaphor of this new life in the here- and- now. We are called to take this Companionship of Empowerment into all our living and all our relationships. It involves giving who we are and all we have completely, wholly away to something greater than ourselves. Isn’t this the story of Jesus wrapped up in one sentence? And therein are the secrets, the insight, and the inner experience of his disciples. It occurs in human history whenever this new realisation emerges and is lived.
Jesus had modelled this generosity, this new Way of living, this Companionship of Empowerment which, upon reflection by his followers, became the experience that gave birth to Christianity. This birth took place when his followers “saw’, after the shock of the crucifixion had passed, that they too could also model the Way of such a community, by giving who they were and all they had completely, wholly away to something greater than themselves but only, if they lived within the power of Jesus’ spirit.
This means for any future spiritual community that together we are to empower each other to live Jesus’ dream for the human race. As companions, as mates, we empower, we encourage each other to:
Love unconditionally To rid ourselves of prejudice To dismantle all barriers that divide To seek justice for all – both personal and systemic To respect other people and also our ‘home’ we call Earth And to live with grace and compassion. In other words, to create a Companionship of Empowerment that ensures that ALL people experience abundant life.
“If only” is the title of this paper so I conclude by saying, If Only the insight into what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God ( the Companionship of Empowerment) became the Way of life and the motivating force within the modern Christian community, as it did with his disciples, Jesus’ dream for humanity would be fulfilled.
This would indeed be “Good News” for the modern world.
1. Mackay Hugh (1999) “Turning Point: Australians Choosing Their Future”, and quoted by Rod Jensen (2008) “Two Small Books on Laypeople and the Church” (page 86)
2. Preston Noel (2006) “Beyond the Boundary”
3. Tacey David (2003) The Spirituality Revolution”
4. Preston Noel (2006) Beyond the Boundary” (page 274)
5. Spong John “Why Christianity Must Change or Die” (page 143)
6. Spong “Resurrection: Myth or Reality”(page 244)
7. Diarmuid O’Murchu:” Christianity’s Dangerous Memory”