On September 22 at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel, Dr. Marcus Borg, an Internationally renowned biblical and Jesus scholar and author of 19 books, will present “Telling the Story of Jesus Today” during a convocation. This event is presented as part of the activities of the Accent on Christian Faith Week, sponsored by the Willis D. Weatherford Jr. Campus Christian Center.
Borg’s views on Christianity and Jesus are informed by mystical experiences, the “holy mystery” as well as scholarship that led him on a spiritual journey from being a devout Christian to an agnostic to a scholar with a more mystical Christian faith.
Borg was raised in a traditional Christian household and considered himself a devout believer during his childhood. However, as he grew older he began to question his faith which brought him terrible guilt and anguish. Borg’s doubts followed him all throughout his adolescence, early adulthood and even during his study at seminary school.
In college, Borg took a course on religion and became aware that he could no longer understand the Bible in a literal sense. His childhood beliefs collapsed, leaving him with nothing to replace his once strong belief in Christianity. Then, and for many years after, Borg considered himself a “closet agnostic.”
When Borg went to seminary school he began his in-depth study of the historical Jesus. He realized that the Jesus of the Bible and the historical Jesus appeared different. As he learned more of the historical Jesus, his closet agnosticism grew as did his appreciation for the messages of Jesus. “Though I found the study of Jesus and the Christian tradition rich and rewarding,” says Borg, “the bottom line was that I finally did not know what to do with the notion of God.”
His faith was eventually restored through personal life experiences, however, it was not the faith of his childhood. “I realized that “God” does not refer to a supernatural being “out there,” Says Borg. “Rather, I began to see the word “God” refers to “the sacred” at the center of existence, the ‘holy mystery’ which is all around us and within us.”
Since 2000, Borg has led annual pilgrimages for those who wish to experience an international Christian community. Borg has led groups to Turkey, Jerusalem, Galilee, Ireland, Scotland, Iona and Greece. His next pilgrimage will be to Turkey and its focus will be on the teachings of Paul.
New York Times describes Borg as a “leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars” and has appeared on several shows such as “Dateline,” “Newshour,” the “Today Show,” “Evening News” on ABC and “Prime Time” with Peter Jennings. Borg has also been featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air” and has appeared on several National Geographic programs.
Borg’s work has been translated into 11 languages and has received several honors. Borg’s book, “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” (1994) is the single best-selling book by a contemporary Jesus scholar and “Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary” is a New York Times best-selling book. “Publishers Weekly” recognized “The God we Never Knew” as “one of the ten best books in religion” and his 2001 book, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time” was also recognized by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best-selling books in religion.
Borg served as the Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture in the philosophy department at Oregon State University and is currently the Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.
Other public events during Accent on Christian Faith Week at Berea include:
- Worship Service- September 20 at noon in Danforth Chapel. Lunch provided in the adjacent Fireside room after the service
- “Spiritual Seekers” gathering on September 22 at noon- Dr. Borg will converse about his perspectives of how Christianity can interact with other religious traditions.