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PaulS

'speaking Christian' By Marcus Borg

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I've just finished reading (via audiobook :) ) this wonderful book by Borg. His scholarly approach in returning Christian language to the context in which it was written, as opposed to today's 'traditional' understanding (which has actually only existed for the last several hundred years), is illuminating.

 

Borg backs up with academic excellence, that the focus on Jesus has become about being 'saved' from eternal suffering and not what Jesus stood for or what early followers believed, that Jesus was about saving us in THIS life.

 

Borg analytically discusses, with excellent referencing to the Old Testament and external sources, the proper contextual meaning of biblical words such as , salvation, redemption, believing, faith, mercy, righteousness, and repentance. It's probably no surprise that Borg believes these words are largely being used out of their biblical context and being misused to say something they were never meant to.

 

Borg's way of explaining Jesus makes complete sense to me, as opposed to the conservative and fundamental view I was indoctrinated with from birth, which left me either questioning or having to deny my instincts.

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A Zen story shows how we have two different dialogues and mentalities. Zen monks could trade dialogue for logging so any wandering monk can stay in a temple if he wins a debate and the losing monk has to leave. Two brothers lived in this one temple, one was smart and educated and the other had one eye and was not smart or educated. The educated brother was tired from studying when a wandering monk challenged for lodging. The elder monk asked his brother to take his place and requested for the brother to dialogue in silence. Shortly the traveler went to the elder monk and said he was defeated and that the young brother was fantastic. He said, "I held up one finger, representing Buddha so your bother held up two fingers representing Buddha and his teachings. I held up three fingers, representing Buddha, his teaching, and his followers, living in harmony. Your brother shook his clenched fist in my face, indicating that all three come from one realization so he won and I have no right to remain. He left.

 

The young monk comes in and the older brothers says you won. He said I won nothing I want to beat him up. Why. He said,"The monk saw me and held up one finger, insulting me because I have only one eye. Being polite I held up two fingers congratulating him that he had two eyes, Then he held up three fingers suggesting between us we have three eyes. I got mad and wanted to fight him and beat him with my fist so he ran out and that ended it."

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Paul,

 

I read the first chapter in this book as a sample and i must say it was presented extremely well. Borg makes a great case that i believe every open fundamentalist or new person to the Bible would benefit greatly from reading. It seems to me it would also be a great comfort and confirmation and provide clarity for those who have already progressed beyond the stage of traditional teachings.

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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For me, the Bible and Jesus makes so much more sense when I read the likes of Borg. Understanding the bible from the point of view of the various cultures and times it was variously written during, makes it so much easier to 'listen to' and appreciate without the baggage that fundamental literalism brings to the table.

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It's a great book. Although when I have suggested some of its materials to my evangelical friends they just shrug it off as someone trying to rationalize all the facts to make earthly makes sense, instead of taking it on faith...

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Although when I have suggested some of its materials to my evangelical

friends they just shrug it off as someone trying to rationalize all the

facts to make earthly makes sense, instead of taking it on faith...

 

You just can help people who choose to be ignorant.

 

steve

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I just finished this book. I found it to be an easy read and I agree with his opinions almost 100% ( I cannot think right now of anything I did not agree with). He does point out something that many theologians ignore, that is: words like salvation, save, redemption, sin, etc. had different meanings in old English, Hebrew, and Greek. Language is very fluid and changing from generation to generation. This book is well worth reading.

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