Over 2010 I picked up Marcus Borg's 'Heart of Christianity' in the local library. It was a book which was perfect for me at the time. Usually though with any book that I read I scribble all over it, a way for me to interact with the text. Due to the it been a library book I couldn't do this. So I'm re-reading the book and this time interacting with summaries some of the main points of each chapter....
Marcus Borg, The heart of Christianity: Ch1 The heart of Christianity in a time of change.
This chapter looks at what is at the 'heart' of Christianity and reflects on some of the major contemporary conflicts such as::
- Ordination of women
- Gays and lesbians
- Christian exclusivism
These are very serious issues which if you are in Christian or in Christian leadership you need to work through. I don't think it is good enough to just to say, my pastor told me or its in the Bible. For me the last two have been particularly prickly for me...
Borg goes onto say that Christinity is going through a paradigm change. He writes about two paradigms::
The earlier Paradigm::
- Grounded in the authority of the Bible.
- Bible as divine
- A literal interpretation
- faith as believing is central :: As Christianity has become more unbelievable due to rationality/modernism/enlightenment, the need for faith as a belief has become more important.
- afterlife is central:: A big carrot eternity
- Christian life is about requirements and rewards:: What we believe and do to get the afterlife. The minimum belief in Jesus.
Basically a response to enlightenment/modernism
Historically:: Bible written as a historical product for two communities- ancient Israel and the beginnings of the Christian community. Bible was not written for us. Historical approach emphasis interpretation of the bible.
Metaphorical:: Not interested in the 'historical factuality' rather the meaning. The stories ask not did it happen rather, what does it mean for us?
Sacramental: Something visible and physical where the Spirit become present to us. 'sacrament is a means of grace, a vehicle or vessel for the Spirit'
The first two points have changed how I read the Bible, while the last point 'sacramental' how I interact with the the world looking for things that may be a means of 'grace'
Overlap of the paradigms
- affirmation in the reality of God
- Centrality of Jesus
- Importance of a relationship with 'God as know as Jesus'
- The need for the world to be transformed.
Borg uses the words of an 'un-ending conversation' that it will continue to evolve as we interact with the Bible, our history and each other.