Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith

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9780061888144: Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith

Kate is a popular religion professor at a liberal arts college in a small town in the Midwest who retreats to her nearest pub for a Guinness and a cigarette when she needs some air. Kate thinks her life is right on track - teaching, writing books, getting some notice, but she soon discovers that even in the twenty-first century, God works in mysterious ways. Kate is up for tenure, and that is when it all starts to go wrong. A colleague warns her that her books are too Christian and too popular. She is offered a visiting professor job at a prestigious seminary that employs the professor she had an affair with years ago. Students ask her views on Jesus, the Bible, and homosexuality, which leads to a parents' campaign for the school to get rid of her. Along the way, readers learn about theological and social issues dividing Christians today as the characters engage them in their lives and work. What is the Bible? What is the quest for the historical Jesus about? What is the nature of faith? How does the study of religion relate to the practice of religion? Are reason and faith friends or foes? Who said it would be easy to be a Christian in today's world? As Kate wrestles with the Bible, the church, the university, her past, and her vocation, we all learn from and share in what it means to walk in faith today.

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Review:

“In Putting Away Childish Things, Borg has chosen fiction as the best vehicle for exploringChristianity, important questions of career and vocation, and thorny issues within the churchsuch as fundamentalism and homosexuality. This imaginative excursion is handled with aplomb…A thought-provoking novel.” (Spirituality & Practice)

“Borg offers up a didactic novel that explores some of the thorniest theological issues facing the Christian community. ... he is to be commended for taking up a new form of literature to share his theological perspective—a perspective that many have found to be generous, open and hopeful.” (Christian Century)

“Professor Borg spins a fine yarn and teaches much in the process, yielding a whole cloth of integrated and inquiring Christianity. Let’s hope there is a second tapestry to come!” (The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church)

“Putting Away Childish Things is a page-turning tale grappling with issues of faith confronting today’s church. An inspiring and compelling story that will be treasured and revisited, Borg’s illuminating insights and all-too-human characters make theology accessible to all.” (Julia Spencer-Fleming, award-winning author of One Was A Soldier)

“The form is different with Marcus Borg’s insightful new novel, but the reader’s experience and payoff are the same as with his many excellent non-fiction books: this is a great read that leads to a deeper, more hopeful understanding of the meaning and possibilities of Christian faith today.” (Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today Board of Contributors, author of Onward Christian Athletes)

“Borg takes advantage of [main character] Kate’s syllabus to teach readers what she teaches her students… The reader audits Prof. Riley’s class and, thereby, drinks from Marcus Borg’s font of knowledge about the Enlightenment, theology and religion…. [Borg] writes plainly, warmly, and with truth.” (Beatitudes Review)

“In the end, it’s the kind of novel where you underline teaching points that have been madeespecially well and dog-ear the pages in which the author has included poetry that speaks to urgent human questions.” (Beliefnet)

“Can a world renowned biblical scholar really write an entertaining work of fiction? The answer is absolutely YES! I was hooked by the end of the first chapter.” (Progression of Faith)

“The story provokes ample opportunity for dialog on a personal and a group level. A wonderful novel.... You look forward to returning to digest more of this splendidly crafted tale.... Powerful, memorable and one that you can confidently recommend to others….as I now recommend it to you.” (Bill Dahl)

“I see this novel as an ingenious way to open up dialogue between Christians of differing points of view, and as a window into Borg’s understanding of what it means to be truly Christian in a world that has become rather inhospitable to Christianity and its claims.” (Presbymergent-Musings)

“Borg writes fiction with passion. While the book raises many questions about faith, religion, and relationships, it also functions by itself as [a] truly moving story. I highly recommend this book for skeptics and people of faith alike.” (Treehouse Monastic)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the book and wholeheartedly recommend it…. Many a book group will enjoy discussing Putting Away Childish Things, and many a questioning Christian’s faith will be sustained by the story.” (A Wee Blether)

From the Back Cover:

In Putting Away Childish Things, Marcus Borg weaves his insightful teachings on Christianity into a new form—fiction. In this compelling tale, we meet Kate—a popular religion professor at a liberal arts college in a small midwestern town who thinks her life is right on track. She loves her job, is happy with her personal and spiritual life, and her guilty pleasure consists of passing her afternoons at the local pub with a pint of Guinness and a cigarette. Life is good.

Kate is up for tenure when it all starts to go wrong. A colleague warns her that her books are too Christian and too popular. She is offered a visiting professor job at a prestigious seminary, which sounds like the perfect solution except for one complication—it is the same seminary that employs the professor she had an affair with years ago. Kate now has to face her past and watch as the ramifications unfold in ways she never imagined. In the classroom, students ask for her views on Jesus, the Bible, and homosexuality, controversial topics that Kate candidly addresses until outraged parents start campaigning for the school to get rid of her. Through it all, Kate faces the toughest challenge yet—a crisis of faith that leaves her questioning what she believed so strongly before.

Putting Away Childish Things is an engaging way for readers to learn about the important issues dividing Christians today. Along the way, we join with the characters to ask the hard questions such as what does the Bible really teach? Who is Jesus? What is the nature of faith today?

This is a story that promises to leave us different in the end than when we started, as we learn how even in the twenty-first century, God works in mysterious ways.

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