Monday, September 06, 2004

My beef with Borg -- ICEBERG!!!

As I prepared to lead a session of the lectionary Bible study at my church in the beginning of May, I starting reading a bit of Marcus Borg's Reading the Bible Again, for the First Time.

These are my notes from the few pages of Borg's book that I read (I did not read the whole book and will probably go back to it one of these days...):

-- speaking of the New Testament, Borg differentiates the historical Jesus from the canonical Jesus (p. 190) and warns that we must not confuse one with the other or we risk confusion...."when Jesus becomes an unreal human being, we lost track of the utterly remarkable person he was." Reference to Jesus' miracles as historical makes Jesus "not a credible human being. He is not one of us."

-- p. 202 notes that Luke 4:16-19 "is not history, or course...[but] the whole scene is a thematic construction created by Luke."
This raised the following questions for me:

?what harm is there in believing this is a historical account?
?How do we differentiate the historical from the canonical?
?How do we even know that this is the way to read the Bible?
?In our freedom and liberalism aren't we just as contained as in literalism -- just under different terms?

When I wrote the above questions, I was feeling hostile towards liberalism. I no longer feel this way and would invite anyone to suggest answers to these questions. They are not meant as an attack, but as a voice crying out to understand.

ICEBERG refers to the colliding of my more conservative Bible study and beliefs with my more liberal beliefs. I've been encouraging (haranguing) my friend to study the Bible, to focus her spiritual search on God and Jesus, and this has been an on-going dialogue for 3 years now. At one point and in response to my voicing my uncertainties about my own beliefs, she suggested that I consider embracing fundamentalism/conservatism to see where that leads me. I rejected this idea, I've seen enough of that point of view when I read homeschooling books that are conservative Christian in orientation and I know that its not for me. I countered by asserting that I need to explore liberalism more, so that I could understand why Borg feels this way, how one can reject the idea of Jesus as God (assuming that's what he's done, and I haven't read enough of him yet to know that he has) yet still value the Bible. I didn't get very far with this until recently. Its so hard to sit and read a book when you're tired from raising your kids, its so much easier to have a dialogue.

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