Marcus Borg Memorial Lecture - Adrian Alker reports.
Marianne captivated her audience through the warmth of her personality and the sincerity of her deep commitment to following in the path of the compassionate Jesus.
The Marcus Borg memorial lecture took place this year in St Marks Church in Broomhill, Sheffield. The conference resonated with significance for it was in this parish church in the year 2000 that Marcus Borg first spoke at a local parish church in the UK. Marcus had accepted the invitation to come to Sheffield at a time when many people across the country were beginning to read his published books. Through his work many came to realise, in an increasingly conservative Church, that there was another way of seeing the Christian faith. We were being asked to look again at the person of Jesus, to read again the Bible with fresh eyes and understanding, to conceptualise in different ways notions of the divine.
And whilst biblical scholars had, for many years, offered such insights from the academy, the genius of Marcus Borg was that he was able, so accessibly, to encourage and embolden people to speak of being Christian in ways which appealed to both head and heart. For many people Marcus Borg opened up a way of redefining and reimagining Christianity which made sense, which might appeal to a sceptical world, which didn’t just shake the foundations and declare what was unbelievable but offered a positive reconstruction of the Christian faith and the Christian life.
This year’s conference was also significant because we were honoured to welcome Marianne Borg, who had been unable to join us in 2016 because of a hand injury.
Marianne was on the staff of Portland Cathedral in Oregon for 18 years and her sensitive, pastoral skills were so clearly in evidence over the weekend. More than this, Marianne captivated her audience through the warmth of her personality and the sincerity of her deep commitment to following in the path of the compassionate Jesus.
On Friday evening she spoke of her own upbringing and journey of faith and went on to speak of the work of the Marcus Borg Foundation, inviting us to sign up our email addresses if we wish to receive regular news from the Foundation. (see www.marcusjborg.org)
Over 150 attended the day conference on Saturday and we hope to receive some form of transcript of her talks from Marianne. It was a day when people from across the network had the opportunity to meet each other and it was also a chance for those who attended, to browse through the very extensive library at St Marks. (Members of PCN are invited to borrow books from this library and you can find the full catalogue on our website in the Resources section).
On Sunday Marianne preached the sermon at the Parish Communion at St Marks and this will soon be available to read. Thus completing a memorable weekend.