The ideas of John Shelby Spong find resounding affirmation in the novel Journey to Virginland, the powerful debut novel by Armen Melikian. Like Spong, Melikian is a fierce critic of the key tenets of Christianity and many of the practices of organized religion.
The former bishop of the Episcopal Church Diocese of Newark, New Jersey, John Shelby Spong calls for a fundamental rethinking of the Christian faith, particularly taking issue with theism and the concept of the afterlife as a determinant of moral behavior. On his part, Melikian launches a meticulous critique of Judaism, Christianity, and other religions, exposing these belief systems’ false premises as well as their virulent perpetuation in the service of institutional – hence social, political, cultural, and economic – control.
Paul McCarthy, New York Times bestselling author and a professor of English at the University of Ulster, Ireland, has written of Journey to Virginland: “I am struck by the extraordinary writing, vision, and, perhaps rarest of all, originality, which abounds in every way, and at so many levels and depths of meaning, theme, narrative, etc., that I had to keep slowing my pace, until I could read and ‘inhale’ each word.”
The first Epistle of a trilogy, Journey to Virginland achieves its singular effect through a mix of dynamic storytelling and scholarly commentary. These twin forces are marvelously calibrated by Melikian, who allows his observations on history, religion, philosophy, art, and sex to breathe through the roller-coaster story of Dog, his protagonist.
As with the work of John Shelby Spong, Melikian’s novel is concerned with the advent of a new dawn in human development. And while Spong presents his vision of transformation through the prism of Biblical scholarship, Melikian points the way through a dazzling leap of faith toward the shape of things to come.
Interested in reading a novel with ideas similar to John Shelby Spong? Get your copy of Journey to Virginland today!