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Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most

Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most

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by Marcus J. Borg

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On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the renowned scholar Marcus J. Borg shares how he formed his bedrock religious beliefs, contending that Christians in America are at their best when they focus on hope and transformation and so shows how we can return to what really matters most. The result is a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best


On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the renowned scholar Marcus J. Borg shares how he formed his bedrock religious beliefs, contending that Christians in America are at their best when they focus on hope and transformation and so shows how we can return to what really matters most. The result is a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best path for following Jesus today.

With each chapter embodying a distinct conviction, Borg writes provocatively and compellingly on the beliefs that can deeply ground us and guide us, such as: God is real and a mystery; salvation is more about this life than an afterlife; the Bible can be true without being literally true; Jesus's death on the cross matters—but not because he paid for our sins; God is passionate about justice and the poor; and to love God is to love like God.

Borg calls all American Christians to reject divisiveness and exclusivity and create communities that celebrate joy, possibility, and renewal. Throughout, he reflects on what matters most, bringing to earth the kingdom of God Jesus talked about and transforming our relationships with one another. Rich in wisdom and insight, Convictions is sure to become a classic of contemporary Christianity.

Editorial Reviews

Karen Armstrong
Both challenging and illuminating.
Frederick Buechner
Writing with a simplicity that never becomes simplistic, Borg manages to convey the essence of Christianity in a way that does justice to those who do not share his views and will greatly enrich the understanding of those who do.
Walter Brueggemann
Marcus Borg is a key force in the emerging “new paradigm” of Christian faith.
Walter Wink
“In every generation there are a handful of writers of whom it can be said, “Read everything they write.” Marcus Borg is one of these today.”
Thomas Moore
“All Christians and those interested in Christianity from a distance should read all his books.”
Read The Spirit
“Conveys an overall message that is both simple and urgently needed: Change is a good and natural part of Christian life.”
“An excellent introduction for general readers who stand outside the Christian tradition as well as those interested in considering how faith changes as they mature.”
Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice
One of those rare books . . . simply written [and] deep enough to inspire serious thought...Everyone would do well to pick it up, examine Dr. Borg’s personal convictions, and glean from a man with so much life experience and spiritual wisdom.
Publishers Weekly
Because "context matters," religion scholar Borg (The Heart of Christianity) reviews the itinerary of his spiritual journey toward his life's convictions. An expert on the historical Jesus who has written 14 books (including a fine novel), Borg bases his biblical exegeses in scripture, reason and tradition; another three-legged stool—memories, conversations, and convictions—shapes this forthright book. He explores how he came to his opinions, from boy to man to elder of 70, beginning with his birth in Minnesota to conservative, Republican, Lutheran parents in a mixed marriage (his mother was descended from Norwegians; his father, Swedes). He became a scholar, a liberal Episcopalian in Oregon, the husband of a priest. He intertwines his considerable knowledge of the Bible and of Christianity with exploration of his life at lectern and in pulpit. He writes honestly and clearly, defining as he goes, always educating. He does not shy from laying out controversies among contemporary Christians, especially progressives v. conservatives, and he analyzes Jesus, the Bible, and the Cross. He closes with wonder: "Imagine that Christianity is about loving God." (May)

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HarperCollins Publishers
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7.80(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Marcus J. Borg (1942–2015) was a pioneering author and teacher whom the New York Times described as "a leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars." He was the Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, and he appeared on NBC's The Today Show and Dateline, ABC's World News, and NPR's Fresh Air. His books have sold over a million copies, including the bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Jesus, The Heart of Christianity, Evolution of the Word, Speaking Christian, and Convictions.

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Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is as clear and honest an appology for Chrstianity and living a modern religios life as I'm aware of, It's written at a level accessable to all readers who are old enough to have begun to think critically, teenage years and up
MargoH More than 1 year ago
Uncomfortable for theological conservatives… Marcus Borg was a Protestant pastor and a university professor who, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, wrote this account describing his of his religious and political transformation during the course of his life. He died a couple of years after completing this book. Borg grew up as a theological and political conservative Lutheran and during his life eventually became a liberal/socialist politically and what he calls a "progressive" (very liberal) Christian theologically. He attempts to convince the reader such a transformation is in fact essential for being a true Christian and faithful to the teachings of the Bible. One of his assertions, with which I happen to disagree, is that it is impossible to be both a theological conservative and a social liberal at the same time. For Borg, a key to his transformation was his abandonment of a literal interpretation of the Bible. His arguments depend on viewing the Bible metaphorically, i.e., regarding the entire Bible like Jesus’ parables in the New Testament: stories that did not actually happen but which Jesus told in order to teach Christian principles. Although this is an unacceptable belief to conservative Christians, it does seem to me that learning the meaning and the lessons from Biblical stories ought to be far more important than spending time arguing about whether or not every fact in the Bible is literally true. Even more unacceptable to theological conservatives is Borg’s claim that the purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world was not to save us from our sins but rather to teach us how to live here and now. Borg even suspects that there is no life after death (although he remains uncertain). The final chapter is perhaps the most orthodox chapter of the book, titled What does it mean to love God? Surprisingly, here Borg sees God as a Being with personal qualities: capable of loving and feeling love, etc. This is surprising, because in an early chapter he sees God as real, but only a mystical force that he termed "The More" - something he occasionally perceived from time to time as an orange glow. If you are a staunch theological and political conservative, either don’t buy the book or prepare to be challenged.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book of the experience and learning of a humble Christian. This book is not preachy or judgmental. It is simply his understanding and experience shared . Great book easy to read and understand