Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review--- Speaking Christian by Marcus Borg

I am jealous. Why am I jealous you ask? Well, I am jealous because I wish that I wrote this book! When I saw the title advertised in Harper Collins' new releases I knew that I had to read it. For the past ten years I have taught introductory courses on the Bible to undergraduate and graduate students and pastored a parish. During sermons and in the classroom I constantly have to define, explain, and often critique commonly used words and phrases such as forgiveness, love, sinner, mercy, salvation. More often than not I find that people use these terms but have no idea what they mean. My job is to help them.

Marcus Borg does a great job of explaining these terms and phrases in his new book Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power and How They Can Be Restored (Harper Collins, 2011). First I just love the title, a collection of pins with words such as God, Jesus, the image of a cross, WWJD, and so forth. The cover is very catchy. If the cover grabs your attention than the content will certainly gain your attention too.

Borg is a great writer which shouldn't be hard to understand since he devoted the majority of his life to teaching, most recently as the Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture and Oregon State University.

While twenty five chapters may seem overwhelming to the average reader they are not enough! Take it from me, this book, is a page turner. Borg divides his book into various thematic chapters such as Jesus, Easter, Sin, John 3:16, Pentecost, etc.....common words, terms, and events that we hear about in Church but may not be very familiar with them. He weaves personal anecdotes and vignettes along the way too.

Do yourself a favor during this Easter season and buy a copy of Speaking Christian. No, buy two, one for you and one for a friend. Trust me, you will read and re-read this book again and again!