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Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith [Kindle Edition]

Marcus J. Borg
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.78
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

“We all know that Marcus Borg is a gifted teacher, biblical scholar, and writer of nonfiction, but it turns out that he’s a master storyteller, too.”
— Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity

Bestselling author, Bible scholar, and theologian Marcus Borg (Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, The Last Week) uses his core teachings on faith and the Bible to demonstrate their transformative power and potential in Putting Away Childish Things: the moving, inspirational story of a college professor, her students, and a crisis of faith.

Editorial Reviews


“The story provokes ample opportunity for dialog on a personal and a group level. A wonderful novel.... You look forward to returning to digest more of this splendidly crafted tale.... Powerful, memorable and one that you can confidently recommend to others….as I now recommend it to you.”

From the Back Cover

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 535 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061888141
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F1WMBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,643 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story with Characters I Came to Care About April 28, 2010
Having read almost everything that Marcus Borg has ever written I didn't know what to think about his foray into fiction. I have really enjoyed Borg's writing style and have it to be very understandable for a wide audience, so I wondered if I would really care about the story or if I would simply want to glean the theological nuggets and not much else.

It didn't take long for me to not only appreciate the theology, but also to look forward to seeing what happened next in the lives of his main characters who grapple with issues facing how to live as a Christian in twenty-first century North America as well as how to understand where we are through a theological lense. Borg did a nice job of developing the characters while balancing non-theological plot development along the way.

I only gave this four stars, even though I could hardly put it down over the last few days, because I would have loved to see some sort of epilogue so that I could know what happened to the main characters of the story. Granted, Borg may have done that on purpose, in order to make us wonder if there will be a sequel. Then again, he may have ended it the way he chose to so that upon reading it again with a group readers might remember that the purpose of this book is to both engage the reader with a well told story while at the same time introducing some important theological concepts.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was one of Borg's characters quoting Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." I you are someone who has an open or curious theology or are wrestling with what it means to be a Christian in the twenty-first century then consider this book.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably engaging and thought-provoking. May 9, 2010
I have read a good half-dozen books by Marcus Borg, and have found them all intellectually challenging and theologically stimulating. And all with an ease of understanding that is evident in all good writing. The same holds true for this first foray into fiction. The author was able to draw me into the lives of the characters by making me care about the problems they faced and the issues they grapple with. And the theological issues and philosophical ideas were presented in such a natural format (classroom discussions, primarily) that I never found them intrusive, stilted, or forced. They became a natural and driving force for the story.

As to the fact that the story is a bit open-ended, I can only hope that this signals a sequel. By the end of the book, I had grown so fond of the characters that I would really like to see how they get on with their lives.

If you are able to think about religions issues without dropping immediately into a defensive posture, then I would recommend this book.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever presentation of some profound ideas. May 27, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read at least a half dozen of Murcus Borg's nonfiction books. In particular I was impressed by "Meeting Jesus for the First Time" and "Reading the Bible for the First Time". He comes closest to my theological perspective. I was pleased to see that he has attempted to describe his understanding of Jesus and the Bible in fiction form. I'm not sure that some one who is not a Borg enthusiast will respond to the lectures by Professor Kate Riley in this novel. As a college professor,
I found her approach very clever and effective.
If you you are convinced that the Bible should be read as literally true. Save yourself a lot of grief. Do not bother reading this novel. If you are looking for a way to read the Bible in such a way that the message may not be factually true but that the underlying concept is true, by all means read it.
I was let down that the novel ended when it did. I can only hope that this means there will be a sequel.
On a negative side, I found the Kindle price inappropriate. It certainly is based on Borg's popularity. It seems to violate Amazon's Kindle committment. I can only assume that Borg's publishers are responsible. This is not the way to get this important book to the largest possible audience. It may be the way to maximize profit.
In spite of my disapproval of the marketing campaign, I highly recommend this book.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self-centered Christianity for College Professors January 22, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Marcus Borg, one of my favorite writers on Christian themes, aspires to join the ranks of other serious thinkers who believe that a really accessible way to present their ideas to a lay audience is through fiction. Thus "Putting Away Childish Things," about the only quote that does NOT appear in the story, joins the ranks of Camus' "La Peste," Skinner's "Walden II," Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," and Sartre's "No Exit," to name a few.

The book will be jettisoned soon enough from those ranks because, as a novel, it is truly awful. Descriptions flow randomly, awkwardly, and without a discernible point except to remind the author that he is writing a story. Characters are poorly drawn, and their dialogue never delineates them. Not a single literary sentence mars the unbearably prosaic narrative whose main interest is clearly the elucidation of a series of connected scholarly memes.

The idea is to follow the journey of undergrad Erin, a fundamentalist born-again Christian, from her literalist view of the bible and her spiritualized view of Jesus to her gradual awakening as a liberal, progressive Christian who understands that faith is not assent to certain assertions but a complete trust and confidence in God, a "centering in" God, as it were. After a book's worth of agonizing, she finally gets it, due to an astute explication of the three Latin words for faith.

That's how everybody learns everything in this novel. Kate, the protagonist, is a religious studies professor at a small liberal arts college. She has a penchant for lengthy quotes by obscure theologians and more obscure poets, quotes that always outrank experience, crisis, or character in rendering profound insight or propelling profound life choices.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Confusing. Not convincing in the least.
I found this book sadly missing in correct Christian context. Neither he nor his writers examined the fundamental christian view before writing this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Janet Erickson
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read!!
This book is ver y thought provoking. I've already read it twice and shared it with a friend. We want to get a group to discuss it.
Published 3 months ago by Judith W. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Borg is a great travel companion
I like the way he thinks, what he says and how he challenges me to consider what I believe and why I believe.
Published 3 months ago by Sarita McCaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting away childish things
I spent my entire career on university campuses and thank Marcus Borg for such an adequate depiction of campus realities on all levels! Read more
Published 4 months ago by DarEll T. Weist
5.0 out of 5 stars discovery of faith
Borg did an excellent job of showing how several people struggled with their faith as it grew and deepened through their life. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jim Garrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Stepping out in Faith with Marcus Borg
While it is often hard to give them up, some of our early understandings of Biblical teachings get in the way of our adult faith, particularly if they were instilled before recent... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Darnall Burks
5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel and greater message
I have read some of the academic work of Marcus Borg and, therefore, was fascinate to see
how his first novel would come out. I highly recommend this book. Read more
Published 8 months ago by William Kiley
5.0 out of 5 stars Borg's changeup pitch.
This was fun. Borg is not a novelist and I would expect more mystery and better developed characters from Lisa Gardner or Michael Connelly. Read more
Published 9 months ago by David M. Pittle
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Effort
This is Borg's first attempt to write fiction. He should stick to what he knows and does best--challenging scholarly research.
Published 12 months ago by CAR
3.0 out of 5 stars A one way conversation
I have long been a fan of what one might best call "theological fiction", that is narratives that raise profound theological questions and pose intriguing theological analyses. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Randal Rauser
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More About the Author

Marcus J. Borg is professor emeritus in the philosophy department at Oregon State University, where he held the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture, and author of the New York Times bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, The Last Week, and Jesus. He was an active member of the Jesus Seminar when it focused on the historical Jesus and he has been chair of the historical Jesus section of the Society of Biblical Literature.

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