All-Church Read for LENT 2020

Marcus Borg


“Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” Reading Schedule


One chapter per week:

  • 1st Week of Lent (March 1st) – 1. Meeting Jesus Again
  • 2nd Week of Lent (March 8th) – 2. What Manner of Man? The Pre-Easter Jesus
  • 3rd Week of Lent (March 15th) – 3. Jesus, Compassion, and Politics
  • 4th Week of Lent (March 22nd) – 4. Jesus and Wisdom: Teacher of Alternative Wisdom
  • 5th Week of Lent (March 29th) – 5. Jesus, the Wisdom of God: Sophia Become Flesh
  • Palm Sunday (April 5th) – 6. Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life


Questions for Reflection


Meeting Jesus Again

  1. How do the images of Jesus that Borg describes compare to the images you’ve found significant in your life?
  2. How does an awareness of the differences between John and the rest of the Gospels change your thinking about the origins of the Bible?
  3. In your own words, describe the contrasting ideas of the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Why is this distinction important?
  4. In your own words, describe the difference between the Pre-Easter Jesus and the Post-Easter Jesus. Why is this distinction important?

What Manner of Man? The Pre-Easter Jesus

  1. Why is it so important to reclaim and embrace the Jewishness of Jesus?
  2. How do Borg’s “Two Negative Claims” and “Four Positive Strokes” challenge or clarify your understanding of Jesus?
  3. What are some of the characteristics of Jesus as a “Spirit Person” as Borg describes him?
  4. How does thinking of Jesus as a “Spirit Person” challenge the Church’s long-held assumptions? How does it challenge you’re your long-held assumptions?

Jesus, Compassion, and Politics

  1. What elements of Borg’s characterization of compassion resonate most with you? Why?
  2. Describe Borg’s understanding of the purity system and its implications for political, economic, and social life in Jesus’ day.
  3. It would seem that much of what Jesus emphasized can be distilled into the pursuit of a radical inclusivity. How do you see that standard being expressed (or not expressed) in our churches? In our culture as a whole?
  4. Where do you see the Spirit leading you to grow in connecting your spiritual life with your everyday world/priorities?

Jesus and Wisdom: Teacher of Alternative Wisdom

  1. Describe some of the ways aphorisms and parables disturb the hearer’s assumptions and worldview.
  2. How do conventional wisdom and “bondage to the dominant culture” jeopardize one’s ability to hear Jesus’ message for today?
  3. What are the spiritual/religious implications of the idea of Jesus as a teacher of a subversive, “alternative wisdom” for those who see this characterization as out-of-synch with the “safe” and traditional Jesus of their up-bringing?
  4. How does the image of God and the way of life at the center of Jesus’ teachings undermine the dominant ideas promoted by the purveyors of conventional wisdom?

Jesus, the Wisdom of God: Sophia Become Flesh

  1. Keeping in mind the Christology that you may have grown up with in your Christian tradition, contrast the Biblical images of wisdom from the Jewish perspective.
  2. List some examples of how Sophia is expressed in the Synoptic Gospels, in Paul, and in John.
  3. In what ways might the feminine image and “gender complementarity” of wisdom as Sophia expand your spiritual vocabulary and perspective?
  4. Of these first five chapters, what idea or concept has been most helpful to you? The most challenging?

Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life

  1. Describe Borg’s three “macro-stories” and their specific and particular priorities.
  2. Of the three, which macro-story resonates most clearly in your spiritual life today? In other periods of your life?
  3. What are the implications of seeing the Christian life as a journey rather than a destination?
  4. How will your spiritual life be changed by moving from “belief in” Jesus to “being in relationship with” Jesus?


Download a pdf file of the above: Meeting Jesus Again Readers Guide 2020


Questions by Rev. David M Felten © 2020 by The Fountains, a United Methodist Church

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