The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith

The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith

by Marcus J. Borg
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Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read several of Prof. Borg's books, and all of them are excellent. In his latest book, The Heart of Christianity, Borg summarizes a lifetime of reflection on the Christian faith. Borg claims that the 'traditional paradigm' is losing it's power over people. Here traditional paradigm refers to a Christianity where God is a being out there with a will and who has all the power in the world and who sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins--literally. Christianity is the only true religion, and if we don't get ourselves to believe in doctrines about God and Jesus (and perhaps eschatology) then we're in big trouble when Jesus returns to earth. While the TP is still nourishing for many in the church, others find it harder and harder to accept they just can't believe that the Bible is a biography of God, of Jesus, and of the end times. There are several reasons, the biggest one being that contemporary Biblical criticism gives us a different picture of the origin of the Bible instead of the Bible being God's words about humans, its the words of humans about God. This doesn't mean that the Bible is false and doesn't contain anything divine it just means that humans had a lot of say about what's in the Bible. Borg endorses the 'emerging paradigm'. Here there's no emphasis on giving intellectual assent to a body of doctrines or creeds in order to be saved, that is, go to heaven. For Borg, this isn't the heart of Christianity. Rather, Christian faith deals primarily with *this* life, and it's a life that emphasizes a *relationship* with God, the key elements being trust in God to provide for all our needs, as well as loving what God loves--in other words, compassion and justice. Thus, as we live a life in God, and take seriously what God takes seriously, which we see in the person of Jesus, we are transformed in this life, saved in this life, so that we bring about the Kindom of God on earth. That's what really matters, not believing in a set of propositions so that we can get to heaven. As I read Prof. Borg's book, I found myself believing in God again. It wasn't the God of the 'traditional paradigm', a supernatural being out there who has all the power and knowledge and intervenes and sometimes doesn't intervene who demands that we accept doctrines and creeds that the mind can't accept--this is just another 'requirement' or 'work'. Also, this God is not the best explanation for the world shown to us by physics and biology, world religions, biblical criticism, and theodicy. I found many of Borg's ideas compatible with process theology (Borg doesn't develop an in depth conception of God, although he says that God is not less than personal. As someone who's in exile from the church--mostly because the traditional paradigm died for me in undergraduate school and failed to re-convince me in divinity school--I found myself, after reading Borg's book, unwilling give up on God. I had a desire to pray, to go to church, and to keep on wrestling with divine matters. If there is a God, I felt close to God as I read Prof. Borg's book God seemed real again, and when I walked the streets of downtown Lincoln, the world looked different: I had a love for people and I knew what the compassion I felt was the way Jesus felt when he encountered people--and it wasn't belief in doctrines that brought about this transformation. There is another way of being Christian, a way centered in a radical trust in God, the one in whom we live and move and have our being. And it's about taking seriously what God takes seriously--that is, a life of compassion and justice. And when we live in the spirit, both in our private devotions and in the life of the church, God becomes real to us and empowers us to strive for the Kindom of God, where the way of God rules our world and not the Caesars or powers-that-be. Thank you, Marcus. Amen and amen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY Marcus Borg describes the challenges facing many people who are trying to remain Christians today. It is no longer possible for great numbers of the followers to believe that the Bible or the Creeds are literally or factually true. It is still possible, however, to find much that is true if one views them metaphorically.Borg explains why he chooses to be a Christian and he makes several practical suggestions on such topics as worship and meditation based on a metaphorical, historical and sacramental approach to Christianity. For me Borg is one of the most inspiring writers associated with the Jesus Seminar. This is especially true because of his ability to take the reader beyond the spiritually dry places one may encounter after deciding that Christianity no longer makes sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marcus Borg speaks to the many Christians who can't accept a literal understanding of the Bible. He explains how to understand it in metaphorical terms, as written by people writing in specific cultures. He answered many questions I had been struggling with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In his book "The Heart of Christianity," biblical scholar Marcus Borg attempts to bring out the real meaning of Jesus and the Christian life. For Borg, being a Christian isn't about believing things *about* Jesus; it's about following the *way* of Jesus. What is this way? It's the way of love and forgiveness. For Borg, God doesn't so much care about what beliefs we have in our heads as God does about how we live our lives. This book will be a breath of fresh air for those looking to reenter the Christian fold but who find the traditional creeds of the church too unbelievable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a MUST READ for anyone who wants to understand true faith about Jesus. 2000 years of harmful Christian (human) dogma still pervades the Christian culture, and Borg's book is one of the best works available to set the path straight - to get to the 'heart' of what Jesus intended in the first place. This will be a book you will buy many copies of to give to others. I would give it 6 Stars, if that were possible!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Borg removes the shackles that Fundamental Christianity has clasped on us and leads us to a new life and meaning in believing in Jesus Christ. He presents a very compelling argument that the Bible was not meant to be frozen in time but instead is the foundation for discovering God anew. He also affirms the validity of the enduring major world religions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each of us brings a point-of-view to interpretation. Borg writes in an engaging and helpful way about Christian experience. This is an excellent book for group study and personal exploration.
Indigeek More than 1 year ago
I learned so much from this book! I wrote down 31 pages of notes from it in my spiritual journal, so that shows you how much good information can be found in this book. I was raised Baptist in the Southern U.S., but over the last few years I've really struggled with doubts about Christianity and almost decided to walk away. There have been several books that have stopped me from giving up on Christianity, and The Heart of Christianity is the best of them. A lot of my doubts have been resolved as a result of embracing the emerging paradigm Marcus J Borg presents. I don't know if I agree with everything Borg says, but I can't think of anyone else with whom I wholly agree either. As I read this book, I kept thinking, "This makes so much sense!" and I found myself with a more open heart, more centered in God, and overflowing with love for others. I highly recommend this to anyone who struggles to live the christian life in a culture that has twisted and corrupted the gospel message.
KRuffcorn More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book. It challenged much of what I had been taught as a child and what I believed for decades. The challenges were thought provoking and faith stimulating. What I really appreciated was that not only was Marcus Borg a New Testament theologian,and wrote from his academic background, but Borg also wrote as a man of faith. He writes as a person who wants to help the faith of others, rather than destroy their faith or simply call into question long held beliefs. I heartily recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Helped me to better understand what had heretofore been so hard to grasp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the book that we read and discussed as a class when i joined the Episcopal Church. I had already read some of Borg's books and knew him to be a fine writer and scholar. Unless one is literalist or fundamentalist; this book will be an informative joy to read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Borg takes a look here at what he calls the "emerging view of Christianity." Particularly with "the Heart" of Christianity and its three basic areas. The Bible is the heart of the tradition; God as the heart of reality; and Jesus as the heart of God. A good informative read.
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TedMorgan More than 1 year ago
Most popular books by Marcus Borg provide useful and thoughtful gateways into lay biblical study and spiritual formation. This is a terrific book for small group and Sunday school study. Many choices exist for small group biblical studies. I think leaders and members of such small groups greatly benefit from using Professor Borg's work.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Whether it's the historical/critical method Borg and the other Jesus Seminar scholars employ... or the fundamentalist Christian's attempt to return to pre-enlightenment, they both impart their own points-of-view to the Bible and then draw conclusions. Isn't listening for what the Bible is communicating to us the main thing?
ScottyJS More than 1 year ago
This book was both inspirational and infuriating. Borg offered very little evidence for the conclusions he proffered and simply reinterpreted what he did not like. His attempt to explain away everything supernatural by the use of metaphors was less than convincing. Thomas Jefferson was more honest when he simply cut out the parts of the Bible he did not like. Borg was was much less forthright and simply changed the meaning. He states in several places that there are two views of Christianity: the old paradigm and the emerging paradigm and that mainline churches follow the emerging paradigm which is what he recommends. Is that why the mainline churches are losing members by the thousands and some of them are flocking to more conservative churches or giving up entirely? It always amazes me how people living two thousand years later know more than those who wrote the books and the centuries of those who have studied them - without producing evidence for the theories. There are no doubt many metaphors in the Bible, along with parables and allegories, but they are clearly marked as such, or one can readily identify them as such. Borg cites Jesus as the door as if some people believe that his reference is to a piece of wood or metal that has hinges and a knob. If this is the emerging paradigm all I can say is God help the church!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Borg denies virtually every fundamental doctrine that Christianity (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestents) had, until relatively recently, believed for nearly 2000 years and yet he still wants to call that Christianity! Call it Borgism if you like, but it is not Christianity.