Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by John Shelby Spong
Total Reading Time: 3 hours
Review: I will let Bishop Spong’s elegant & thoughtful words speak for themselves. “The task of the modern Christian is to have the living Word that moves beneath the literal words of the Bible erupt to call people into life and into the task of building an inclusive community where Christ is seen in all persons, where those in Christ can begin to respect the dignity of every human being, and where all people can begin to respond to the presence of God that is over, under, around and through all of life.” “Men and women, homosexual persons and heterosexual persons, all races, nationalities, and persons of any ethnic background, all communists and capitalists, rich and poor, old and young, religious and nonreligious, Christians, Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus, atheists and agnostics–all persons reflect the holiness of God, for all are made in God’s image. How can I enslave, segregate, denigrate, oppress, violate, or victimize one who bears the image of the Holy One? That is the Word of God I meet in the Bible.”
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg
Total Reading Time: 1.75 hours
Review: Part lesson on the historical Jesus & part lesson on how accepting a different image of Jesus than the one taken literally from the Bible can help move “beyond believing in God to being in a relationship to God.” And I definitely think that the world would be a better place if more people had a relationship to God rather than simply believing in God. Although I wholeheartedly acknowledge that a relationship to God takes more courage & faith than just believing. Still, I wish more people would meet the Jesus I just read about especially those who think they already know him.
Note: For the next month, I’ll be reading books about religion. My father has generously given me some good suggestions and I’m looking forward to it. So here it goes…
The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction About Jesus by John Dominic Crossan
Total Reading Time: 4.75 hours
Review: I was immediately struck by Professor Crossan’s impressive academic vocabulary. However, if you’re scared of words like paradigmatically, eschatological or asceticism, you might want to think twice about this book. I imagine this book is a lot like sitting in one of Professor Crossan’s lectures. I tried my best to keep up with the profound nature of his religious academia and I hope I retain even a small amount. Although, I’m pretty sure, as a preacher’s kid, I find this stuff overly fascinating. Case in point: I’ve grown up hearing the term “apocalyptic eschatology” over and over, so much that when I read (and finally understood) it here, I had a nostalgic reaction which I’m guessing most people wouldn’t.