Marcus J. Borg is professor emeritus in the philosophy department at Oregon State University where he held the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture. He is the author of many bestselling books including Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time and The Heart of Christianity. Borg is a Living Spiritual Teacher on our website and can be visited online at www.marcusjborg.com. We are used to his writings which explore the breadth and depth of such weighty theological matters as God, Jesus, the Bible, belief, religion and much more.
In Putting Away Childish Things, Borg has chosen fiction as the best vehicle for exploring Christianity, important questions of career and vocation, and thorny issues within the church such as fundamentalism and homosexuality. This imaginative excursion is handled with aplomb.
Professor Kate Riley is a popular professor of religious studies at Wells College, a liberal arts school located in Willow Falls, Wisconsin. She lives alone and savors quiet moments of drinking and smoking at a local pub. She also has a special fondness for red shoes. Everything seems to be humming along in her life and work. Her goal after five years of teaching and writing several books is to achieve tenure at Wells. But then some obstacles appear on her fast-track career path: a professor tells her that her books are too Christian and too popular, and some conservative parents want to get rid of her for not teaching traditional interpretations of Jesus and the Bible.
But obstacles are followed by a challenging new option in the form of a visiting professor job at Scudder Divinity School on the East Coast. She has been recommended for the position by Martin Erikson, the man she had an affair with in grad school. Kate must do some heavy soul-searching about who she is and what she really wants to do. In the process, author Borg creatively engages us with the spiritual process of discernment as we struggle with difficult choices. He also conveys a richness of illustrative material in Kate's syllabus for her Religion and Enlightenment course. Borg refuses to shy away from the issue which is presently tearing Christian communities apart, the hatred for homosexuals, as one of Kate's born-again students comes to her for counsel on this matter. The author is able to put his progressive Christian perspective on display in the novel's sermons, poems, and radio interviews, and all of this helps make Putting Away Childish Things a thought-provoking novel.