4 May 2015: Marcus Borg ‘Convictions’ Chapts 2 & 4 – led by Adrienne

We considered these chapters under a number of headings. Chapt 3 Mystic experiences: many of the group had had such experiences – connectness, can’t will it, not scary, can’t explain, are the experiences of/caused by God?, more often in a quiet environment. God as a ‘cosmic parent’: is comforting when situation is out of one’s control – natural or man-made. Authoriarian God image is very ‘male’ – controlling, organising. What if parent image was more adventurous, explorative, creative, experimentation? Panenthesism: General support in the group but if God is in everything (and beyond) that also includes the concept of sin/evil. God can only be present in people and other sentient beings – not in inanimate objects. Intellectually correct theology: agreed not necessary but need some internal reconciliation before able to talk with others. Always need to be open to further insights, understandings and potential to change views.

Chapt 4 Stages of Faith: Many have been proposed – Borg in this chapter, James Fowler and Scott Peck elsewhere. Everyone will be in different places – not necessarily a continuim with progression from one stage to the ‘next’. Some will be happy to stay wherever they are, others will also be enquiring and more likley to move. One stage is not better than any other, similarly whether there is movement or not. Salvation as ‘transformation’: most members agreed but transformation is both at a personal level and in business/economic systems/the world. The present Western economic market model keeps more than half the population in near or actual poverty – it and the powerful people in it require ‘transformation’. Afterlife?: We too are agnostic as Borg is.

Ian Harris