Thursday, November 01, 2007

Adult Ed Book Study

During the month of November, we will be providing you with an opportunity to help reinterpret what it means to understand God and be a Christian. To help with this endeavor, our book study will read Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, by Marcus Borg.

In his book, Borg liberates 'Jesus' from the rigidity of fundamentalism and the aridity of intellectualism. He also graciously liberates readers from the shackles of what many have thought they were supposed to believe about Jesus if they were to remain Christians. For some folks, what Borg writes will seem as a relief to see Jesus in a totally new light.

Michael Goss writes an impressive review of this book,

All Christianity is, to some extent, idolatrous. Christian worship is a response to a worshiper's image of Jesus, and all images of Jesus fall short of his reality--in the same way that all biographies and portraits fail to depict a whole person. In Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, New Testament scholar Marcus Borg attempts to understand how popular images of Jesus connect Christians to their savior and isolate them from him. Borg writes about his own evolving ideas of who Jesus was, considers the scholarly and popular religious evolution of Jesus' public image, and investigates with special care the effects of Historical Jesus research on contemporary images of Jesus. Meeting Jesus Again is written in an affable, gracious, and unflinchingly honest voice. Borg's description of his own faith particularly exemplifies these qualities, and gives the reader a simultaneously safe and unsettling new perspective on the peasant from Galilee: "[T]he central issue of the Christian life is not believing in God or believing in the Bible," he writes. "Rather, the Christian life is about entering into a relationship with that to which the Christian tradition points, which may be spoken of as God, the risen, living Christ, or the Spirit. And a Christian is one who lives out his or her relationship to God within the framework of the Christian tradition."

Marcus J. Borg, author of the bestseller The Heart of Christianity, is Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, author of the bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, The God We Never Knew, and co-author of The Meaning of Jesus with N. T. Wright and of The Last Week with John Dominic Crossan. He was an active member of the Jesus Seminar when it focused on the historical Jesus, and he has been chair of the Historical Jesus section of the Society of Biblical Literature.

The first meeting of our study will be on Tuesday, November 6 at 7:30 PM. We will continue our book study on the three remaining Sundays in November following worship on Sunday. If you haven't already purchased your copy of the book, you may do so either online, at your local bookseller, or through Ginny Marx. Ginny is offering the books at a great reduced price of $10.

Also, to help the entire congregation have an opportunity to understand this book, I will be preaching through the book alongside Scriptural support during the entire month. This coming Sunday, November 4 begins the series with the title of the sermon being, "Who is Jesus to You?" Won't you come and join us for an enlightening and soul-searching experience?

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