I am fond of this work, Marcus Borg’s fantastic first fling at fiction. You’ll enjoy it too!
The story line was pleasant. The character development was exquisite. The dialog flows flawlessly. The real-life context is uncharacteristically authentic. The story is superb.
This is a story that a wide audience can relate to. No complicated, theological background required to fully appreciate the story Marcus is spinning here. Yet, as a quote from Frederick Buechner illuminates, a thesis near the end of the book that might be overlooked: “Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you because it is through what happens to you that God speaks….It’s in the language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably.” (p. 335).
Based upon the public life of Marcus Borg, one cannot help but surmise that this quote is as pertinent to the author’s life experience, as it is to the story line he crafts in this work. The philosophy, epistemological underpinnings and practice of Christianity have been the life of Marcus Borg. Formerly professor emeritus in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University where he held the chair in Religion and Culture, this story was, in this sense, somewhat predictable. Marcus seems to be allowing his “life to speak” through this story (not that Borg could ever be characterized as one who has exercised undue restraint when the opportunity to arose to speak his mind).
“Fiction?” Maybe. Well, not hardly. The story line encounters a number of mainstream ‘faith & culture’ issues on personal, group, systemic and organizational levels. All the tensions that Borg weaves into this novel are very much alive and well today. The story provokes ample opportunity for dialog on a personal, and a group level. A wonderful novel that can be used to explore these issues further – together, in a myriad of forums.
We need more fine fiction story-telling in the faith & culture literary genre. Perhaps, Borg’s “Putting Away Childish Things – A Tale of Modern Faith” will provide the essential encouragement for others to do the same.
The nature of this style of writing is magnetic — a book you look forward to returning to digest more of this splendidly crafted tale. Yet, this novel is powerful, memorable and one that you can confidently recommend to others….as I now recommend it to you.
Something tells me this may be the first in a series of novels from Marcus Borg. I certainly hope so.
I’m wondering what Kate Riley is going to encounter at Scudder? You’ll have to read this novel to understand my question.