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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Borg

Thinking of Carman's many "read" and "book" posts, I must say something about one of the authors who very much helped shape my thinking on matters theological, Marcus Borg.

Several years ago now, I first met Borg in a thin little book I encountered, I know not how or where called The God We Never Knew. I was at a place in my life of deciding just what I did or did not think or believe about God. Up until then, I'd supposed it was a matter of one thing or the other. Either you did or you did not believe in God--whatever that meant. I still own that book and it is much marked, underlined, question-marked, worn and tattered. I've bought several other copies of the same book since. I've led discussion groups about it and used its thoughts in many classes and sermons.

It was Borg who first introduced me to the notion that it was possible to think about God in several very legitimate and faithful ways. That it wasn't a matter of Yes or No, but of How. And that how could change or evolve over time; in fact it should change over time. Most of us are aware of some people who've never got past the God of their infancy and find that child's belief inadequate for the challenges of adult life.

The God We Never Knew was not a scholarly book, although Borg himself is a New Testament scholar. It is a personal book about his own look at faith. Since that first book I've also read his most well-known book of scholarship Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Later still another book that has become a favourite for teaching and preaching: Reading the Bible Again for the First Time with its lovely subtitle (those who know me know how I value subtitles!) Taking the Bible Seriously, not Literally.

Borg is a member of the famous --or notorious, depending on your perspective-- Jesus Seminar. He's tended to be labeled "liberal" by some, but he is also a practising Christian and he is not above entering into productive and respectful dialogue with well known "conservatives" as evidenced by his book The Meaning of Jesus co-written with N.T. Wright. He's also done some exploring with a bit more radical thinker John Dominic Crossan in The Last Week, a great book to find some new perspective on Jesus' life.

Borg never stops thinking. He revisits former books and updates them. He examines ways his theology (and ours) shapes our Christian life and the life of the Christian church. The Heart of Christianity, Rediscovering a Life of Faith and Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teaching and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary are two great examples of that.

All that exploring, rediscovering, struggling, dialoguing, even arguing have helped shape my own faith journey. And I am very grateful to Marcus Borg for his excellent guidance along the way. If you haven't made his acquaintance yet, let me recommend any of the titles in this post, or indeed anything else you encounter written by this one of my favourite writers.

Posted by Marion

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