Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith
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Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  80 reviews
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...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2010)
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Giedra
Marcus Borg is a theologian, not a novelist. But when I found this novel as I was browsing juvenile fiction, I thought it would be worth a read. (I even thought, "this isn't juvenile fiction! Why is this here? I must be meant to read it.") His preface calls the work "didactic" and indeed it is. His protagonist, Kate Riley, is a professor of religion at a small liberal arts college, and much of the novel consists of text from handouts she gives to her class and point by point discussion of the po...more
Dan Wilkinson
In this work of fiction Borg provides insights into the positions and difficulties of modern progressive Christianity. Although overly didactic at times, Borg nevertheless manages to provide an insightful examination of the intersection of faith and modernity, framing theological, philosophical and social issues in an accessible and engaging way. I'm not sure to what extent this story is a successful progressive Christian apologetic; it's doubtful that Borg's concise explanations of the liberal...more
Phil
It has to be said that, although I understand his premise and motive behind writing the book, there are elements to it that are absolutely grating!

First, and most annoyingly, once a name brand has been established describing an object, it doesn't have to be referred by that name brand every g-d-damned time it's mentioned. A "Guinness" beer--which is highly overrated by people who think that by choosing to like this beer automatically elevates them to some beer-phile status--should simply become...more
Sheri
Well, the writing was done well. But the material bothered me. If you are a new believer in Christ and have given your life over to Him and need discipleship, this book will lead you in the wrong direction. I know that Christ should be the center of our lives and Kate is a professor teaching religion and saying that the Bible is just stories, representing ideas. There are two characters in the book that are born-again and I give the author a nod for including them in the book. But I am disturbe...more
Joy
Borg himself describes this book as a "didactic novel" and I think that word is very accurate. The plot revolves around Kate, a Liberal Christian and New Testament professor at a liberal arts college. She's written a popular book about the nativity narratives in the gospel, and has come under fire from colleagues and parents of students who find her either too un-evangelical in her thinking, or too religious. Ah, the perennial dilemma of being a liberal Christians, where neither fundamentalists...more
Michael
Reading fiction has become a rarity for me (except for the occasional sword/spaceship sort of thing). I grabbed this book because I like Marus Borg's nonfiction work, and the story sounded interesting. The author says up front, in the prologue, that the book will be didactic: he intends to teach his truths using a fictional story as his vehicle. With that in mind, much of what I read--the theology part--I had read before in Borg's other books. There were certainly some new insights and ideas, th...more
Jessica
This book was SO bad I wish I could give it negative stars since it was a huge waste of my time reading it! I wasn't familiar with the author, but based on the title and a review I read I thought it would be an interesting look at "modern faith" - not so much. Apparently the author's view of "modern faith" is that you can call yourself a Christian and basically not believe the Bible. The book follows Kate, a religion professor at a small liberal arts college. Kate's newest book focuses on the co...more
Churchlady
Oh, my gosh, was I disappointed! I was really expecting to be challenged and intrigued. Granted, Borg informs us from the beginning that this is a "teaching" novel. Teaching, yes. Novel, not so much. The character development was non-existent, there were no surprises. The characters came off as elitist intellectuals who had no interaction outside an academic environment. They were boorish snobs who think that feeling a little guilty equals social justice. The book came off as preachy. I wanted a...more
Polly
Despite its didactic tone, Borg talks about lots of interesting ideas in a new way. He isn't a novelist; too often, his characters do or say something because it's important to him, not because they're separate people. A novel isn't the place for 3-page excerpts from text books or several pages of a college lecture. At the same time, I enjoyed looking at how beliefs inform who we are, as well as the conversations between people all along the spectrum of religious thought.
Kim Faires
Didn't like it at all. The writing wasn't that good and the content was definitely not what I was expecting. the Modern faith part was more about university professors that believed that the bible is more myth than fact. It was way more out of the box than I ever hope to become. Paperback swapped it already....
Lee Harmon
This is a story about believing, and Borg’s first-ever novel may be among his best books. The main character, Bible scholar and professor Kate Riley, is a progressive Christian with a devotion as strong as any fundamentalist believer.

For a glimpse of how Kate lives as a Christian, we might peek into one of her lectures. In a discussion of whether the story of Adam and Eve is “true,” Kate teaches, “The identification of truth with factuality is a cultural product of the Enlightenment. The success...more
Andree
I should probably write this "review" after my impressions have settled down and focused. I read this book because it is by Borg and we have been informally sharing it in Bible Study. I'm all over the place right now about how I feel about the book: the characters are not fully drawn, yet the topic is vital for me. The way the story unfolded kept me wanting to read. Yet the details in the book irritate me.

Your first novel, and this is Borg's first, is autobiographical. And in Putting Away Child...more
Carolyn
My enjoyment of this didactic novel was enhanced by the fact that I had recently read a couple other or his nonfiction books; this novel was a bit like an interesting review of those readings. For readers interested in Borg's theology, this would not be my first recommendation; I would first recommend "The Heart of Christianity" where you can really get to the heart of the theology that is woven through out this novel. In "Putting Away Childish Things" it was interesting to read answers to stude...more
Lynn
Borg tells a good story - a "page turner." I was driven to understand what adjunct professor Kate would do in confronting some difficult life choices and what she would teach her students about the Bible, modern thought, and meaning. Author Marcus Borg seems to be encouraging readers to not dumb down our pursuit of understanding Jesus, St. Paul, the Bible, the Divine, and other topics about traditional, largely judeo-christian beliefs.

Author Borg seems to desire to avoid slick and easy answers...more
Travis
Many of you recognize Marcus Borg as a well established--and sometimes controversial--biblical scholar. "Putting Away Childish Things" is his first novel . . . and it shows! The story is underdeveloped, the characters aren't all that interesting, and the pacing is just way too slow to keep anyone interested.

The novel follows an established religion professor named Kate who teaches at a liberal arts college. Things are going great until one day she receives an offer to be a visiting professor at...more
Mary Lou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stein
Marcus Borg, famed liberal/progressive theologian who has authored many learned treatises has ventured into the land of fiction. But this is a teacher's novel with the main characters lecturing to students or each other (and the reader) which can be interesting or mind-numbing depending on where you are positioned in the theological spectrum. It is unlikely that readers who have little interest in theology will get very far with this book. It may convert a few conservative Christians to become p...more
Matt
Borg is a very fine New Testament scholar and a good popularizer of liberal theology. I've never been dissappointed by his books.

I am happy to report that Borg's first work of fiction is no exception to this rule. The story is solid and engaging, the plot has an intrinic interest, and - like his non-fiction - the prose is just plain enjoyable. Borg is candid that he is not writing to produce masterpiece fiction here. And indeed, as a work of fiction there are some plot holes, and worse some und...more
Rebecca
I'll be honest and say that I'd like to give this book two different ratings. As a novel, I'd give it only three, maybe 3.5, stars. As a "didatic novel" (what Borg calls it), it rates higher (hence the four stars). So, in the end, I think I really wanted to read a novel, not the latter.

On a personal level, I had a lot in common with the protagonist, Kate--a young introspective professor, who drives a red Volvo! Borg does a good job of developing her character as well as presenting a vivid suppor...more
Suzanne
I hovered between three and four stars on this one, because I wasn't sure if I really liked it because it's the season (Advent-Epiphany-Lent) to do so, or if I just really liked it. I landed on "just really liked it."

Borg's didactic novel (sometimes code for "It's okay that my characters are flat, because they're just a tool I'm using to teach my philosophy" - this novel resembles that remark) was helpful to me in two ways. It helped me streamline some of my own thoughts on the Bible and its use...more
Kristin
Honestly, I wanted to like this more than I did. I've never read any of Borg's non-fiction; I read this for a book group. It didn't lead to very good discussions because there just wasn't a lot of substance to the book. Perhaps if you're a bit like the character Erin - I think that's the sort of person this book is targeting. But I'm no theologian and there just wasn't much here that was new to me. Borg has a point to make, and he sort of hits you over the head with it (even though I agree with...more
Julie
This book is basically an overview of Marcus Borg's academic and theological work set within the framework of a novel. Borg himself describes it as a "didactic novel," so maybe that's what he was going for. I have read some of his non-fiction books and definitely prefer them. The storytelling in this book felt flat to me. I got tired of hearing about what the characters in the book were eating, drinking, wearing, and smoking. If those details contributed anything to the characters, they made the...more
Ellyn
I love Marcus Borg and was intrigued to find that he'd written a novel. It tells the story of Kate, a religion professor at a liberal arts college who is popular with students but comes under fire for being too Christian in her views and teaching. Meanwhile, she is invited to apply for a one-year visiting professorship at a seminary that brings her back in contact with an old professor who she once had an affair with, and she must decide whether to pursue the job. The book also follows a student...more
Debora Smith
This is a wonderful book exploring radical views of Christianity. It challenges what you thought you knew/believed - and after realizing that I was not going to be hit by a lightning bolt, actually strengthened my faith. I suspect that I'll be reading this book again.
Kathleen Dixon
Borg has done a very good job of writing a novel that brings some good progressive theology into it while clearly being a story about a person of Christian faith.

I enjoyed the key characters - they are fully believable. In fact, having known many of the character types in this novel, I can say that each of them are fully believable.

Borg is maybe a little long-winded in his descriptions of Kate's morning devotions, though that's just my taste; and perhaps a bit pedantic in his other theological d...more
Patrik Olterman
Not a great work of fiction but an excellent conversation starter. Borg serves the struggles of faith in a very friendly and unthreatening way. Although I do not agree with all the theology presented in the book or the way that conservative fundamentalism is a bit under represented, or perhaps not as richly or deeply portrayed as the progressive people in the book.

I would also like to have seen some alternative progressive views (N.T. Wright, Wolf, Mclaren etc) alongside the views of Borg himse...more
Helen
I read this on the recommendation of my pastor, in my search for reconciling my liberal faith with the beliefs of conventional churches, but it really didn't help a lot. So I'm still searching... This was a novel about a professor teaching religious studies in college. She was actually considered an oddity because she considered herself a christian and most of the other professors thought that odd for an educator. Some of the ideas presented (taking the bible more as metaphorical than factual)we...more
Gary
I enjoyed this book, though I suspect it's destined for a limited readership. It's really an apologetic for progressive Christianity (of which I am an adherent) in the guise of a novel. In a preface, Borg explains that this is exactly what he is doing, more-or-less admitting that he's not really a novelist but an academic. That allows the reader (at least, it allowed me) to give him some leeway, because as a novel, it really is pretty clunky, the characters being more "types" than fully-fleshed...more
Julie
In the Introduction, Borg calls this a didactic novel, and it is. He creates a fictional world in which to address several big issues in the church today. It's not the best-written story I've ever read, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the small-liberal-arts-college setting; I liked the characters and recognized many of their struggles. The ending was very powerful to me. Perhaps a bit of an insider book, I could see it appealing to someone considering either an undergraduate major in religious...more
Angela
Excellent. For me this was a real page turner as the characters were so real that I was desperate to see how they faired.
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Borg was born into a Lutheran family of Swedish and Norwegian descent, the youngest of four children. He grew up in the 1940s in North Dakota and attended Concordia College, Moorhead, a small liberal arts school in Moorhead, Minnesota. While at Moorhead he was a columnist for the school paper and held forth as a conservative. After a close reading of the Book of Amos and its overt message of socia...more
More about Marcus J. Borg...
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem

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