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Bishop Spong preaches to the unconverted in Playboy.

The Naked Truth


Bishop John S. Spong often explains that he wants to communicate with those in the secular culture who don't see what religion is about. So he has appeared in many places where you wouldn't expect to find an Episcopal bishop, such as TV shows like "Politically Incorrect."

This month he is in Playboy, preaching to the unconverted once again. In a profile by Warren Kallbacker, Spong, formerly at St. Paul's Episcopal in Richmond, tells us something Playboy apparently already knows:

"Religion and sex make a powerful story."

Also: "The mainline churches are all dying. They are empty on Sunday morning in urban areas. …In the South, there's another thing going on. Christianity, as it's traditionally talked about, no longer communicates to thinking people. …

"[P]eople don't know where to find meaning. We have to help them recognize that spirituality doesn't start with telling everybody what a miserable, wretched sinner you are, how great God is that he's come down and rescued you. You've got to have a sense of the spirit or the divine that touches human life and calls it into becoming more deeply human. Instead of responding to tribal fears and hating everybody who's different from you, you can be more like the Jesus who can see people for what they are. The religion of the future — and I hope it's Christianity — will be focused on empowering people to be human."

Spong will be bringing his message to St. Paul's Church's lunchtime Lenten services March 26 -30.

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