Tuesday 3 February 2015

Sticking with the church

A little over a week ago, I was saddened to hear the news of the death of Marcus Borg. Since then I have read many articles and blogs praising him for his scholarship and his ability to communicate to those who had grown disenchanted with the traditional message portrayed by the church. I first became aware of Borg's writings early in my ministry training. It was like a breath of fresh air. I had read Spong and some other progressive theologians who were either very wordy and intellectual or tended to pull the rug of faith out from under you. Borg's approach was more accessible and gentle. In telling his own story, I could believe that there was a way through the muddy mire of theological confusion. It gave me hope. 

I have read many reflections that have described how Marcus Borg enabled them to remain a Christian. For me it was more that he helped me to stick with the church. There have been many times where I become tired of the church, it's politics and dogma. I have often wondered if it easier to be a genuine Christian outside the church. And then I read people like Borg who have been on this same journey, have reimagined what it means to be a follower of Jesus and have paved a way for others. 

I wrote a reflection only last week that expressed my frustration and longings. I titled it Enough.

Enough of words and trying to explain
I long to sit by the sea
Enough of prayers that righteously ramble
The silence is drawing me in
Enough of getting it right for all to see
Content in my skin I will be
Enough of judgment, labels and dogma
I rest in deep truth from within

Enough of perfection
Enough of survival
Enough of victory over sin

More stillness
More wonder, more awe, more life
More loving and breathing and whim

Enough of certainty, clubs and exclusion
Enough of pedestals, politics, platitudes
Enough of niceness, numbness, nameless
Enough of flat and fake and fickle

Take me to a place where the sun's rays warm my heart
Let the veil be thin
Let me soak in the mystery
And just be.... Enough.

We complicate things so much in the church. We forget that the vision of Jesus was about inclusion, loving people and being in relationship with God. Marcus Borg helped me to see that being a Christian is possible in the church. Sounds crazy - I know. And so now as I prepare to go back into ministry after three weeks break, I need to hear Marcus Borg fresh again. I need to strip away the tangles that the church puts around God and the person of Jesus and be excited again by the simplicity of what Jesus preached. Thank you Marcus Borg.