A Preview of Sunday, March 22, 2015

Topics for discussion

*Have we lost the meaning of the larger “story” of the Bible and Jesus by over-emphasizing theology and historical analysis?

*What are some of the “macro-stories” of the Old Testament Bible? (The Exodus from Egypt; the destruction of the temple and exile to Babylon in 587 B.C. and return to Israel in 539 B.C. after the Persian conquest; the Priestly purity system embodied in the institution of the  temple, priesthood, & sacrifice.)

*What are the “macro stories” of the New Testament? (Jesus birth, His message – ‘believe in me’ or ‘a message of compassion – Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection)


Chapter 6: Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life


The Exodus Story

Exodus 1-40

The Babylonia  Exile Story

Jeremiah 24:1-12

Priesthood and sacrifice (examples)

1 Kings 6:5 23

Leviticus 4:15:13

The Easter Story

Mark 14-16

Luke 22-24

Debrief of Sunday, March 8 class

In spite of the change back to Daylight Savings Time, we had a hardy attendance yesterday, but we did miss some of our ‘regulars’ and look forward to having you back with us. Diana and I loved having our long-time friend, Evelyn Gerdes, make a very early drive from Charlotte to attend the class.

Anne Winfield gave a thoughtfully, well-crafted opening prayer which set the tone for the opening discussion of conventional wisdoms we have heard most of our lives, like “A penny saved is a penny earned” – “the early bird catches the worm” – “early to bed and early to rise, makes us healthy, wealthy and wise” – and many more.

Michael guided the discussion from these conventional wisdoms to the aphorisms and parables of Jesus – with a focus on the Prodigal Son. New insights were gained about the loyal son who stayed home and his concerns for fairness for his loyalty.

Karen Van Manen then gave a moving reading of Robert Frost’s poem: The Road Not Taken which stimulated some terrific all-class sharing of critical life choices which have made all the difference.

Next Sunday we will be discussing Chapter 5 – Jesus, the Wisdom of God:Sophia Become Flesh.

A Preview of Sunday, March 8, 2015

*What are some of the ‘conventional wisdom’ sayings that we grew up hearing and how have they been useful in guiding our lives?

*Why are Buddha, Lao-tzu, and Jesus spoken of by Borg as teachers of “subversive wisdom?”

*What understandings and beliefs about God and Jesus can we/have we discerned from Jesus’ aphorisms and parables?

“What has been our road less traveled?


Chapter 4: Jesus and Wisdom


Aphorisms other than those listed by Borg

Judging – Luke 6:36-37

Attending – Matt.10:42

Misfortune – Luke 13: 4-5

Charity – Luke 6:27-32

Prudence-Mattt. 6:17-18

Being #1 – Matt 10:30


Why parables? – Matt. 10:13-17

Hidden Treasure – Matt.13:44

The Lost Sheep – Matt. 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7

The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:3-7

The Good Shepherd – John 10:1-14

Supplemental Reading:

Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken

The 46 parables of Jesus: http://www.swapmeet

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 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

Galatians 3&4 Paul Struggles to Explain the Law

I have uploaded the presentation for today’s class on Galatians 3 and 4. You can find it here.

Launch Sunday: February 3

Our class will not meet on February 3. Instead, during the church school hour you will be given an overview of the classes to be offered beginning February 10, including “Paul: Chauvinist, AntiSemite, Theologian?

I’ll look forward to seeing you there.