11 May 2015: Marcus Borg ‘Convictions’ Chapts 5 & 6 – led by Linda

Chapt 5 Borg speaks of the Bible as the Word of God and Jesus as the Word of God and that Jesus trumps the Bible. We recognise that both have authority, but in the end analysis, we only know Jesus from what is in the Bible. We think though that Jesus is the lens through which we interpret the Bible, so in that sense, Jesus is pre-eminent. The present biblical cannon has been in its present form from around 365CE. Items only become ‘sacred’ when people so regard them as such – largely through their association with a significant time, person, place or of great age. The Bible has elements of all these. [Items associated with the Gallipoli landings are now becoming sacred.] Most ‘fringe’ religious groups have leaders that are not trained in Biblical studies – so what the Bible says is taken at face value. However careful and knowledgeably considered writings should provide a balance against leaders with extreme ideas.

Chapt 6 The biblical writers were not reporters – a long time after the actual events, they recalled that they saw and heard through their cultural lens and their experiences since the events took place. They looked for God’s actions in significant events. Often their stories are parabolic ie they are in the form of a parable, not reporting an actual event. Jesus would have told and re-told his parables – so they would be subtly different with each re-telling. Borg calls for the Bible to be taken seriously but not literally – which members of the group do. Ministers often do not preach what they have learnt in training perhaps because they are concerned about a backlash or of upsetting people. They gravitate towards being more of a Pastoral Elder than a Teaching Elder. We see faith expressed in the quality of people’s lives – whether of conservative or liberal persuasion. In the end one’s theology is not the key aspect of being a Christian [– but it does make for interesting discussions!]

Ian Harris