Name: Martha Spong
Where you live: South Central Pennsylvania
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Social media minister, writer
Your two favorite books:
“Thirst” by Mary Oliver – I love her poetry; this is a volume I return to over and over again. “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis – This is perhaps my most re-read book, going back to age 8, and returning to it is like visiting old friends and hearing their voices one more time. My daughter is named for Lucy Pevensie. If you don’t mind, I’ll add a third: The Gospel of Mark, which I love for its interwoven stories and its portrayal of a Jesus who is fully a lot of things.
Your two favorite songs:
“I’ll Fly Away” – I have a collection of idiosyncratic recordings of this one, from Johnny Cash to Alison Krauss to Kanye West. “Songbird” – Again I love and have various versions, but especially love it as recorded by Eva Cassidy, for the way it marked a turning point in my life.
Why you are interested in spirituality?
From the time I was a little Southern Baptist girl growing up in Virginia, and even before I read the Narnia books, I had a sense that even when life in this world is challenging, we belong to something bigger and farther and deeper and more real than we can see. I’ve explored a number of denominational paths and other spiritual influences, but ended up remaining in church, which is the place I feel most connected to a love that is deeper and wider than our perceptions. I feel it most deeply in music and the reading of the Word and always hope to open that connection for others in my preaching.
Your favorite quote:
“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – such a great counter-balance to our nice, clean, safe Sunday School Jesus.
My Cousin Jack, otherwise known as the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong, a person of the deep and courageous faith, brave enough to let go of all the handrails of established religious life to show the rest of us there is still a footing to trust.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
How God is working through the things I have been slowest to accept, or perhaps I should say through my stubbornness!
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?”
Almost anyplace I can see, smell, hear the Atlantic Ocean.
Editor’s Note: Martha is the editor of this book:
There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor, edited by Martha Spong, foreword by Carol Howard Merritt (SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2015).
Also found here:
w/theres-a-woman-in-the- pulpit-martha-spong/ 1120614143?ean=9781594735882
Martha is also a contributor to this book:
The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2016, edited by Jenee Woodard, curator of The Text This Week.