Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
June 2018
Fred's Rating: 
John Shelby Spong
Total Pages: 
Harper Collins

This book is the autobiography of John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal bishop who is a lightning rod for controversy. He has for decades been working to popularize an inclusive version of Christianity that avoids racism, sexism, and homophobia. It gives a blow-by-blow of his high-profile battles and also some very intimate details about his life that help to explain the sources of his theology. (For his books I’ve read, click on his name.)

The Amazon website for the used hardcover edition I bought is

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

The home page has a good summary (click on ‘Read more) that the Kindle edition doesn’t have. I also recommend the first three Top Customer Reviews. The third one, by Keith Jensen, is titled “The heart cannot worship what the mind rejects” – in short, this sentence was the driving force that led Spong in his teaching others how one can interpret and understand the Christian message and crucial insights that are needed in today’s world – to move beyond the archaic interpretations of traditional Protestant (or Catholic) worldviews based upon an archaic understandings of the past history of the Christianity.

I suggest shifting to the Kindle edition which includes all of his 5-pp Preface. I found it very important to learn why he wrote this autobiography in the year 2000. The book’s 2-pp Contents ends with two Appendices that a friend recommended I read first rather than last. The 6-pp Appendix A – A Statement of Koinonia – lists 88 names (most of them Episcopal bishops) who agreed with what Bishop Spong asked the members of the House of Bishops to support. Now, 18 years later, I wonder how many members of today’s House of Bishops would add their names to this statement. The 2-pp Appendix B – Twelve Theses – was drawn from his book Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile. The heading of the list of the twelve theses is “A Call for a New Reformation.” John Shelby Spong has always faced issues head on to determine which of them called for strong statements like these twelve theses.

There is so much in his autobiography that I don’t know how to choose what more to say. I feel the only addition to the summary and reviews I’ve chosen above is my overall admiration for all he has said and done. The courage he has shown during his lifetime is amazing. I’m very glad I chose this book so I could learn how he faced the resistance of the ‘spirituality stagnant’ Episcopal clergy and stood his ground in his efforts to awaken them to face today’s world. I rate this book at five stars.