Recently, I was quite excited when HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins publishers, contacted me by email to ask if I would like for them to send a copy of one of their newest releases for review, Marcus Borg’s Putting Away Childish Things. The reason they knew about me and asked me is that they had found my recent two-part review of another recent HarperOne release, Brian McLaren’s controversial work, A New Kind of Christianity (see my part 1 and part 2).
Though I am excited they contacted me and were willing to send me a free copy in return for a review article posted upon finishing the book, I know I am no one special. I can only imagine they offered the same to thousands of varying bloggers. Still, I am glad they found me. Typically, free books are a good idea to me.
This is Borg’s first fiction work and I have never read any of his non-fiction works. But it is my understanding that he is a controversial figure amongst evangelicals, especially for his historical-metaphorical approach to Scripture. I know he has influenced others such as Brian McLaren, hence why some of McLaren’s thoughts on Scripture in his new book, A New Kind of Christianity, seem to mirror that of Borg’s.
The inside flap of Borg’s book gives this summary:
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.
Interesting to engage with. I just began reading the book today. I do like the setting of the beginning scenes – the cold wintertime in a small town of Wisconsin. I’ll take the book with me on holiday-vacation next week and hopefully finish it there. And then I hope to soon post a review of the book.