A Preview of Sunday March 1, 2015

*What was Jesus’ central message and why was it so offending to official Judaism and to the occupying Roman & Herodian rulers?

*In what ways was Jesus’ threatening the prevailing imitatio dei as God is Holy and the very hierarchical ‘Purity’ System’ of his day?

*In what ways is Jesus’ attack on the Purity System in his time relevant to what is happening in our time: in the U.S. and globally?


Chapter 3:‘Jesus, Compassion and Politics”


Jesus’ ‘worldview’

Luke 6:36


Matthew 5:48

Jesus’ attack on Purity as the purpose

Luke 11: 42-44


Mark 7:15

Jesus’ critique of  inside vs outside

Matthew 23:25-26

Luke 11:39-41

Matthew 5:8

The Good Samaritan

Luke 10:29-37

A Preview of Sunday, February 22, 2015

What are the implications of thinking about Jesus and God as experience rather than as objects of belief? In this class we will think about our own experiences of “the Spirit of God” and how we might understand them more profoundly by understanding what the New Testament authors said about Jesus’ experience of “the Spirit” and the experiences of the early churches. Here are some readings to consider:


  • Page 17 “Beyond Belief to Relationship”
  • Pages 37-39 “Implications for the Life of the Church


Thinking about each of the following passages in light of our recent discussions of Jesus’ own spiritual experience, what could “Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” mean other than the third person of the trinity in each text?

  • Luke 4:14-21
  • Acts 4:8 and 31
  • Acts 7:55
  • Acts 13:52
  • Romans 15:13

A Preview of Sunday, February 15, 2015

Topics for Discussion

  • Jesus as a Spirit Person
  • God as experience rather than an object of belief
  • What Jesus suggest should be our relationship to God, the Spirit.



Chapter 2, cont. from Jesus as Spirit Person and Mediator of the Sacred (p.31) to end of chapter.


Judaism and spiritual persons: part of Jesus’ religious tradition

  • Moses: Deuteronomy 34:10

New Testament references to Jesus’ experience of God

  • Matthew 3:10-16; 4:1; 10:16-20
  • Mark 1:6-13; 13:11
  • Luke 4:14-21

Contemporaries of Jesus and their experience of God

  • Paul on the road to Damascus: Acts 9:1-9

A Preview of Sunday, February 8, 2015

Topics for Discussion

* Review of the birth stories

* What Jesus was not

* What Jesus was

* Jesus as:

-A spirit person

-A teacher of wisdom

-A social prophet

-A movement founder

-A religious/social activist

-A miraculous healer



Chapter 2, cont. from The Adult Jesus: A Sketch to Implications for the Life of the Church

Biblical texts that Illustrate Borg’s Point of View

-Spirit Person

Mark 1:12-13

-Teacher of  Wisdom

Matt. 5:3-12

-A Social Prophet

Luke 12:17-23

-A Movement Founder

Luke 6:17-19

Biblical Texts Illustrating other Aspects of Jesus Ministry

Jesus’s Social Mission

-Luke 4:16-21

-Matthew 25:34-40

Jesus as Miraculous Healer

-Mark 10:46-52

The Galilee that Jesus Knew

The Biblical Archaeology Society has made freely available a number of books recently that discuss archaeological finds in the area of Ancient Israel. These books are targeted not just at biblical scholars, but at general readers interested in what archaeology has to show about the ancient world in the areas relevant to the Bible.  One of these books, The Galilee that Jesus Knew, is relevant to the discussion that we began this morning (the cultural and historical context of the Pre-Easter Jesus). Clicking the title of the book in this paragraph will take you to a page where you can download a free copy.

Jesus and the Politics of his Day

This evening as I listen to Dr. William Barber’s sermon at Riverside Baptist Church in New York, I am reminded of a book that I read many years ago on Jesus and politics. Jesus and the Politics of his Day is a collection of essays by prominent biblical scholars on the political context of Jesus’ ministry.

You can read the entire book online at Cambridge University Press ebooks.

You can hear Dr. Barber’s sermon here: