It was agreed that this was an illuminating book although the vocabulary was daunting. Borg describes two ways of reading the Bible as either believing that it is literally the words of God or believing that it describes people understanding of what God is like. Borg himself takes the latter historical-metaphorical view of the scriptures, seeing within them the universal truths, which give meaning to life.
Members of the group were reminded that those who read the Bible lessons on Sundays should say, "In this is the Word of the Lord" rather than "This is the Word of the Lord." (As not all members were aware of this, a reminder to readers will now be suggested via the church stewards- PG). It was noted that Jesus added to the ancient instruction to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and strength", the instruction to, "Love Him with all your mind." Is He affirming that we should look critically at the scriptures?
Another point made was that the Christian faith is not so much about believing but is about the fidelity of our relationship with God — knowing Him, rather than just knowing about Him. It was acknowledged that there are probably many different beliefs about the nature of God but that He is accessible to all. He can be sought through scripture, tradition, reason and experience, the so-called Methodist Quadrilateral approach. Although it is strongly felt by many people that Jesus is divine, others express the view that Jesus has the character of God and we can see aspects of that character in other human beings.
Borg says that the homely wisdom of the Proverbs often contrasts with the profound insights of the writings in the books of Ecclesiastes and Job, whilst Paul's letters appear less dictatorial, when seen as only one side of a correspondence. The author thinks we are entitled to find more than one meaning in the Gospel stories and we need to bear in mind that they had particular relevance to the time when they were written. However, this does not stop them from having important messages for us today, when they are approached prayerfully.
I found the September meeting of the Good Faith Book Club stimulating and instructive and believe it or not we managed to have a few laughs.