I’m pleased to see that Marcus Borg is joining the blogosphere with a new blog at Patheos.
Borg has been a big influence in my spiritual and academic development. I first encountered him as a college student in 1997 when I attended a weekend event he did on his book The God We Never Knew. It was a revelation to me to think about God in the way Borg suggested. I’ve recently found my notes from that event, which you can see here—my sloppy handwriting and the quantity of notes I took are telling signs that my mind was being blown.
One of the things I’ve appreciated about Borg is the way he has positioned himself as a spiritual leader in addition to his work as a New Testament scholar. He is very much a leading voice in progressive Christianity and I have learned much from him. His foray into blogging is a good way to expand his reach as a public theologian.
My only hesitation is my fear that he will continue to dwell in the conservative vs. progressive debates of the 1990s and 2000s. His opening post indicates that this is still a fight for him. As I’ve indicated, I’m less interested in this now. And, my sense is that new version of Christianity emerging in the US is already more progressive than the caricatures of conservative Christianity Borg was so good at dismantling. I’d rather see him focus more on articulating his vision of progressive Christianity than arguing against conservative visions that are losing ground, in part because of the work he has done in previous decades.
One thing I will say about his introductory post: he makes me wonder if I should consider the Episcopal Church.
I grew up as a Scandinavian Lutheran and in my 40s became an Episcopalian, attracted to the Anglican tradition by its liturgy and its broad theological tradition. For Episcopalians and Anglicans, what unites us is not a uniform theology but a common worship tradition that emphasizes the eucharist, the Bible, and community.
Though Episcopalians are not often thought of as a “Bible church,” we hear more Scripture on Sunday mornings than almost anybody else, including conservative Christians. Though we do not think the Bible is inerrant and infallible, we are more marinated in the Bible than any other denomination. Our closest rival would be Lutheran churches with a high liturgy.
That actually sounds very appealing to me, though I suppose the grass is always greener in the place you are not.