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Adult Sunday School: Why Christian words have lost their meaning


This past year in our Adult Sunday School we were timely in reading Jim Wallis’ book about politics.  But like the campaign and its aftermath it became tiring.  We are still living in a political quagmire in our country that I don’t see going away soon.  I imagine some of the things we discussed this past year will resurface, but the focus of our study this fall will be different.

I have chosen for us to read Marcus Borg’s book Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power and How They Can be Restored.

We will be talking about language and what we mean when we use words.  I chose to go this route in response to what I think we all witnessed in the election regarding language:  There was a lot of lying going on, but not just that – there was use of words that were meant to conceal, distract and confuse (to say the least).  What do people mean when they say “fake news?”  Does everyone mean the same thing?  As is true in the political world has also been true in the theological world.  We use words and phrases assuming their meaning, and assuming that everyone else shares our interpretation.  This is far from the case.  Even the most basic theological words like “salvation” and “sin” are misunderstood.   One of the things Borg did throughout his career was to point out when words are misused or abused, because this often opened people up to an epiphany and transformation in their faith.  This book is a compilation of some of the more significant misuses of theological words.

If you’ve been in this class you know that it is an open discussion.  We often go off on tangents and that’s all right, to a degree.  My feeling is that the first text is us, the book is the second text that we use to help us discuss our lives and faith.  I think this book will be a good foil for such discussion.

We meet again on September 10 at 10:00 am.  Everyone is welcome.  P.Jim


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