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Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - and How They Can Be Restored
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Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - and How They Can Be Restored

by Marcus J. Borg
 

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Modern Christians are steeped in a language so distorted that it has become a stumbling block to the religion, says internationally renowned Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg. Borg argues that Christianity’s important words, and the sacred texts and stories in which those words are embedded, have been narrowed by a modern framework for the faith that emphasizes

Overview

Modern Christians are steeped in a language so distorted that it has become a stumbling block to the religion, says internationally renowned Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg. Borg argues that Christianity’s important words, and the sacred texts and stories in which those words are embedded, have been narrowed by a modern framework for the faith that emphasizes sin, forgiveness, Jesus dying for our sins, and the afterlife. Here, Borg employs the “historical-metaphorical” method for understanding Christian language that can restore for us these words of power and transformation. For example,

  • Redemption: now narrowly understood as Jesus saving us from sins so we can go to heaven, but in the Bible it refers to being set free from slavery.

  • Savior: now refers to Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins, but in the Bible it has a rich and wonderful variety of meanings having nothing to do with the afterlife.

  • Sacrifice: now refers to Jesus’s death on the cross as payment for our sins, but in the Bible it is never about substitutionary payment for sin.

In Speaking Christian, Borg delivers a language for twenty-first-century Christians that grounds the faith in its deep and rich original roots and allows it once again to transform our lives.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Borg (Canon Theologian, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, OR; Reading the Bible Again for the First Time) is an esteemed and much-published author in theology and biblical criticism. As a member of the Jesus Seminar and chair of the Historical Jesus section of the Society of Biblical Literature, however, he is not without his detractors. His latest book will delight his friends and continue to confound his adversaries. Here, he makes a convincing argument for a contextual reading of the words and experience of the New Testament. To Borg, we face a choice between a faith mesmerized by our fate in the next world and a faith that focuses on the transformation of this world. VERDICT Borg's approach makes the complexity of his ideas transparent; his ideas will appeal strongly to individual Christians, as well as the unchurched.
CNN
Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity… When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means.
Englewood Review of Books
“A primer to help correct misunderstandings and help those unfamiliar with Christian language become fluent. . . . An important figure on topics from the historical Jesus to religion and culture, he challenges Christians to live for God’s justice in the world and not just focus on the next world.”
Read the Spirit
“Ranks with his earlier volumes as efforts to renew and rebuild Christianity by healing long-standing wounds and welcoming millions of alienated men and women.”
Anne Sutherland Howard
“This book could start a revolution. Borg cracks open the encrusted words of faith and pops them into fresh language that people can understand and trust. The last time this happened, we got the Reformation.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061976551
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/12/2011
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are Saying About This

Anne Sutherland Howard
“This book could start a revolution. Borg cracks open the encrusted words of faith and pops them into fresh language that people can understand and trust. The last time this happened, we got the Reformation.”

Meet the Author

Marcus J. Borg is professor emeritus in the philosophy department at Oregon State University, where he held the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture, and author of the New York Times bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, The Last Week, and Jesus. 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.

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