New Series: “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time — Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally”

In this six-week sermon series inspired by Marcus Borg’s book by the same name, we’ll explore what it means to take the Bible seriously, if not always literally. For those interested in digging deeper, an accompanying Wednesday evening study will be offered by Phil as well.*


Borg

“Many Christians mistakenly believe that their only choice is either to reconcile themselves to a fundamentalist reading of scripture (a “literal-factual” approach) or to simply reject the Bible as something that could bring meaning and value into their lives. In Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg shows how instead we can freshly appreciate all the essential elements of the Old and New Testaments—from Genesis to Revelation—in a way that can open up a new world of intelligent faith.

In Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Borg reveals how it is possible to reconcile a scientific and critical way of thinking with our deepest spiritual needs, leading to an insightful experience of ancient text. This unique book invites every reader—whatever his or her religious background—to engage the Bible, to wrestle with its meaning, to explore its mysteries, and to understand its relevance. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time shows us how to encounter the Bible in a fresh, new way that rejects the limits of simple literalism and opens up the rich possibility of living a life of authentic faith.”

April 23What is the difference between a “Literal-Factual” way of reading the Bible and a “Historical-Metaphorical” way of reading it, and why does this matter?

April 30Reading the Creation Stories Again

May 7Reading the Hebrew Bible Again

May 14Reading the Gospels Again

May 21Reading Paul Again

May 28Reading Revelation Again

From the preface:

“Conflict about the Bible is the single most divisive issue among Christians in North America today. And because of the importance of Christianity in the culture of the United States, conflict about the Bible is also central to what have been called ‘the culture wars.’

The conflict is between two very different ways of reading the Bible. In language [used throughout] this book, it is a conflict between a ‘literal-factual’ way of reading the Bible and a ‘historical-metaphorical’ way of reading it. The former is central to Christian fundamentalists and many conservative Christians. The latter has been taught in seminaries of mainline denominations for the better part of a century. Most clergy have known about it for a long time…

[A central purpose of this series] is to address the present conflict about the Bible within the church and to provide Christians with a persuasive way of seeing and reading their sacred scriptures, a way that takes the Bible seriously without taking it literally.”

What others are saying:

“Borg’s analysis is profound, challenging and engrossing; it will enable readers to use scripture creatively once again and truly make it a bridge for the divine.” (Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God)

“This welcome book removes many of the barriers that separate thoughtful people from the wisdom of the Bible.” (Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People)

“[A]n accessible book, almost entirely devoid of scholarly jargon but filled with scholarly insight.” (Christian Century)

*Accompanying Wednesday evening sessions will be held from 6:30-7:30pm on April 19 and 26 and May 3, 10, and 17. The sermons preached are part of the 10:00am Sunday worship service at Brentwood.

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