Thursday, January 5, 2012

Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity; Born again, a new heart.

Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity; Born again, a new heart.

A summary and some thoughts on the chapter

-Borg starts this chapter by talking about transformation or 'Born again' in two levels. spiritual/personal and communal/social/political. They are in many ways linked.
- 'Born again' is narrowly defined in evangelical and pentecostal's understanding of Christianity it usually comes with a formula 'Do you believe that Jesus is your personal savior?'
-The chapter examines biblically the idea of been 'Born again' from Synoptic Gospels, John, Paul's letters. 
-The idea of 'life, death and resurection" is the main language of 'born again'
-"Rather than being the unique revelation of a way known only in him, his life and death are the incarnation of a universal way known in all of the enduring religions" ( Interestingly glimpes of this I found in the post on Brian May I did)
-Borg asks the question "Born Again: Why We Neede This"? and his summary paragraph concludes
"Thus we need to be born again. It is the road of return from our exile, the way we recover our true self, the path to beginning to love our loves from the inside out rather than the outside in, the exodus from our individual and collective selfishness." (It would seem to me this is why there is a satifsaction for people who go out and "feed the sick" and are atheists/agnostics and get a sense of forfillment out of it.)

-The next chapter writes about the process of been 'born again': It is for some dramatic and others a slow and incramental process. (On reflection for myself there was always a slow process at work, yet there was also a day which was more cognative in my decision. Neither was mutually exclusive.)
- The 'born agian' experience can also occours 'with 'short rhythms' or 'micro rhythms' in our life (I like this!)
-Borg again mentions a univeral aspect of this compared to other religions
-'Born again' is the work of the Spirit, we cannot make it happen. But as Borg writes we can 'midwife the process' (Not sure that this is entirely clear what he means by this or even if it is necessary as he goes on to write midwifery is Spirituality.
-Defines Spirituality 'becoming concisious of and intentional about a deepening relationship with God' 'In short, spirituality is about the process of bein born again (and again and again). (It is interesting that while I still get to church I have no real commitment other than going; my intnention these days is more about God; in many ways it is the happiest I've been at Church without the side distractions)
-The question is how do we know if a person is 'born again' and Borg would define it  by Paul as 'love' and Jesus as 'compassion'; He writes of the definition of compassion as "Womblike; life-giving, nourishing, embracing.

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