Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Teresa and Borg

I recently finished reading No Greater Love by Mother Teresa (Novato, California: New World Library, 1989). This is the first book by M. Teresa I have read. She has been an inspiration to me through anecdotal quotes for years and I was excited to read a full length work by her hand.

A few quotes that really caught by attention...

“God will not ask you how many books you have read; how many miracles you have worked; He will ask you if you have done your best, for the love of Him. Can you in all sincerity say, “I have done my best”? Even if the best is failure, it must be our best, our utmost” (pp. 68-69).

What a humbling thought. What a concretely real sentiment. How many of us feel that because we have failed at something we have not been faithful? God’s blessing is on us when we do our utmost, period. Never measure your faithfulness by the signs of success as determined by this world.

Reflecting upon the heart of compassion, she writes...

“They say that the passion in Gethsemane was much greater than even the crucifixion. Because it was His heart, His soul that was being crucified, while on the cross, it was His body that was crucified” (p. 82).
Finally, my favourite response to the Q&A section at the end of the book...

Do you attempt to present any special religious message through your work?
Love has no other message but its own. Every day we try to live out Christ’s love in a very tangible way, in every one of our deeds. If we do any preaching, it is done with deeds, not with words. That is our witness to the Gospel” (p. 179).

That really sums up her book, and practical theology.

The other book I just finished was Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally by Marcus J. Borg (New York: HarperCollins, 2001).

I hope to facilitate a 10-week course this winter based on the book.

Borg writes the book for the majority of Christians I know...
“...most of whom are found in mainline churches, are less clear about how they do see the Bible than how they do not. They are strongly convinced that any parts of the Bible cannot be taken literally, either as historically factual or as expressing the will of God. Some people who reach this conclusion leave the church, of course. But many continue within the church and are seeking a way of seeing the Bible that moves beyond biblical literalism and makes persuasive and compelling sense” (p. 5).
He makes a clear stance, stating that...
“Being Christian...is not about believing in the Bible or about believing in Christianity. Rather, it is about a deepening relationship with the God to whom the Bible points, lived within the Christian tradition as a sacrament of the sacred” (p. 18).
I recommend this book for every Christian who seeks to live their faith with the Bible at the centre without the unacceptable consequences of biblical literalism.

Just a few thoughts I wanted to share.

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