Compulsive Overreader

Along with borderline hypergraffia, my other literary disorder is -- I'm a compulsive overreader. I'd like to say that I'm trying to get it under control, but I'm clearly not. Check out the archives here to find what I'm reading and what I think of it. If you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Emerging Christian Way, by Marcus Borg, Matthew Fox, Tom Harpur et al (LentBook #5)

Some of the writers in The Emerging Christian Way -- most notably Marcus Borg, whose essay kicks off the collection -- dissociate themselves from the label "liberal" in favour of talking about an "emerging paradigm" of Christianity. But that's mostly rhetoric: this collection of essays is about what we all recognize as "liberal Christianity," that is, Christians in the mainline Protestant denominations who question traditional doctrines such as the divinity of Christ and the authority of the Bible, yet who still find Christianity meaningful and significant.

There's nothing wrong with this book speaking to that audience, but something in the packaging made me hope that the writers would address a broader spectrum of Christians, that there would be something here for someone like me who self-identifies as a conservative within Christianity, a liberal within my denomination, and who's very excited by the idea of "emergent" Christianity as described by Brian McLaren. I'm interested in visions of Christianity that transcend traditional boundaries and categories, and I thought The Emerging Christian Way might present such a vision.

But it doesn't. There's no real interest here in building bridges with more conservative Christians; indeed, as Marcus Borg says up front, this "emerging paradigm" of Christianity is so different from the traditional paradigm that they might as well be two different religions. Fair enough; most conservative Christian writers I read aren't that interested in building bridges to the liberal wing of the faith, either. But since there are elements of both liberal and conservative Christianity that appeal to me, those bridges are of interest to me.

Again, there's nothing wrong with this book (which is published in Canada and, despite the presence of essays by Borg and Fox, has a distinctly Canadian slant) if you're looking for a guide to what it means to be a Christian even though you don't accept all the traditional doctrines. The book turned out not to be quite what I was looking for, but what it does, it does quite well.


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