Big time scholar, controversial figure, subject of endless discussions… he showed up last year at First Presbyterian Bend wearing brightly colored striped socks. He scooped up a few cookies and a cup of coffee in the lobby and sat down to talk with two of us who were trying to look as if having THE Marcus Borg in our office was the most normal thing in the world.
In seminary, I lobbed my share of critiques at his writing which mostly assumed that he was as I found a few of his followers – lost in their heads and out of touch with their hearts. Nothing could be further from the truth once you met Marcus. In fact, I now see that his writing pleaded for just the opposite. His faith was a conviction of things not seen even as he refused magical thinking about the Bible. He embodied a deep, restful abiding in the mystery of God along with a life committed to following the path of Jesus. He called that faith “post-critical affirmation.”
Marcus passed into the love that he fully embraced yesterday. My shelf is full of his books and I will keep opening them regularly to find words that take me deeper in my faith and understanding of the Bible. But more than all of those words, the generosity, grace and kindness of his spirit along with those self-effacing striped socks will continue to provide a smile, courage when the journey is hard, and gratitude for the gift of a day with such an amazing soul.
Here’s his talk at First Pres late last March: