I had to read this book at work as part of my professional growth assignment. Though I am not a theologian of any kind, nor do I aspire to be, I still found this book to be insightful and thought-provoking.
Marcus Borg has listed all the books of the New Testament (NRSV version) in, what he believes to be, chronological order. Why is reading the Bible in chronological order important, you may ask. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Each chapter has an introduction, giving you a brief reasoning on why the books are placed in this particular order. He also highlights a few important passages from the text, and gives historical background on the audience that each letter or gospel was written for, and why the content is important for the times.
This is why placing the books in order is important. Most of the letters were written as a specific response to what was going on during that time period. One letter that really drove this home for me was 1 Timothy. Borg explains that most of the letter has to do with institutionalization. Basically, it gave rules on how women should act and dress, and gave a list of qualifications bishops and deacons needed in order to hold those positions. Borg says that these themes suggest a later period of time. These were not the main concerns of other letters and books of the New Testament. Acts is mostly about Paul’s journey to Jerusalem, the gospels tell about Jesus’ life (though it is done in different ways), etc. Therefore, it is strikingly different from other books in the Bible. Putting it anywhere else but the end would make a reader wonder if this was part of Jesus’ theology.
Another important thing you learn when reading the background of these letters is that a lot of them were probably not meant to be publicized, especially the ones addressed to individuals. How do you think the authors would feel if they knew that their personal letters were canonized and taken in as part of people’s theology? It is as if you were to write a letter to your best friend, and then you die and someone releases it and the public thinks that’s who you were, rather than attributing it to a moment in time.
So should we take everything that is in the New Testament literally? Well, a lot of people do. They use the Bible as a weapon to support slavery, heterosexual marriages, suppressing women’s rights, etc. In 2 Timothy, Borg points out
Although the verse does say ‘all scripture is inspired by God,’ it does not say that ‘inspired’ means ‘inerrant and infallible.’ Rather, because it is inspired, it is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. (576)
What he means is that scriptures are there to be used as a teaching tool, but not as word directly from God. It is important to remember that these letters are written by people reacting to the times. Some of the authors’ ideas are quite the departure from others. Who even decided which books should be in the Bible and which shouldn’t? Certainly, some important ones have been left out. What if these particular letters were not in the Bible? I’m sure people wouldn’t have them to refer to when defending their actions or dislike for a certain group of people. Interesting thought.
I may have gotten off topic a bit there, but my main point is that Borg does give you useful information and important background to better understanding the books of the New Testament and shedding light onto why they were written in the first place. My only critique of this book would be that I wish there was more background. Often, there are only a couple of pages before the reprinting of each book. He includes the books so you can quickly reread the book or letter in a new light, but I’d almost rather that not be in there and just get more background on the history and context of the letter.
As I said before: I am not a theologian. I am speaking from the perspective of someone who is Catholic, but never really thought about what was being preached or taught. I just took the New Testament as is. But now, knowing what I have learned from Borg, I’ll be listening to those stories with a new view on them, and thinking about the author and why he is saying what he is saying. At least it makes reading stories in the Bible a little more interesting now.
I’ve been absent from this blog for quite a few months now. Why? Because I’ve been super busy and haven’t had any time to dedicate to reading. Sad, I know. My boyfriend and I bought a house this past summer, which is a very long process, not to mention all the time spent moving, painting, house stuff, oh and getting two precious dogs. Life has been pretty hectic and I’ve taken up a side project in addition to work but things are finally calming down and I can get back to reading! Hooray!
In the USA Today interview, Curry struck a somewhat defiant note. She rejected the idea that she had bad chemistry with co-host Matt Lauer, and, when asked if she thought she had been given enough time to settle into her new role after fourteen years as the show’s newsreader, said, “No, I do not.”
She also said that she had been ready to leave NBC entirely, having been “hurt deeply” by the protracted ugliness of the past week. Since news broke last Wednesday of her impending departure, her every move has been tracked by a cloud of press attention. One report began, “Ann Curry showed up again for work.” (NBC maintained a stony silence throughout.)
But Curry said that NBC News president Steve Capus convinced her to stay, offering a job that she described as rich with opportunities for hard news reporting.
Although this is a book blog, being a journalism student in college and having that as my choice career path, I feel I must comment on this. I love Ann Curry. I remember watching the Today show when I was younger, getting ready for school, and then later when I was unemployed, watching sometimes in the morning. I’ve always thought of her as a great journalist. She’s really done some hard-hitting stories and you can tell she loves what she does. That’s why it’s so sad to see her go.
She’s been part of the Today show for about 15 or 20 years, always playing second fiddle to the main anchors. After Katie Couric left, she was passed up for the anchor opportunity in favor of Meredith Viera. Quietly, she sat and waited her turn and it finally came and it was offered to her. Then, just like that they took it away, barely giving her a chance to get her feet wet.
How can you blame the lack of ratings on one person? Obviously, it’s easier to use Ann as a scapegoat rather than own up to the fact that there are other things wrong with the show. It has definitely changed from the days when I used to watch. Long gone are the news stories. They are now replaced with entertainment fluff and they even added a fourth hour so we can see Kathy Lee Gifford and Hota Kotb get drunk at 10am. Great job, guys. And no, interviewing the Kardashian Klan or Octomom is not considered news.
I love journalism and it’s people like Ann Curry who were always an inspiration. She, along with other women journalism trailblazers, paved the way for girls like me to go after a dream and know that you can make it. It’s sad to see someone so dedicated to their work be let go because she doesn’t “fit” what they’re looking for. Maybe NBC and the Today show should take a good look at itself and what they’re doing. There’s some happy medium in there, I’m sure. I feel like they found it long ago and ditched it to conform to popular culture and compete with E! news and the like.
Ann Curry did not deserve to go out like this. If you watch her farewell this morning (look it up on YouTube), you can tell she is not happy with the way things went down and she knows she wasn’t treated fairly. And she didn’t even get a proper sendoff! You would think that someone who gave you so many great years deserves a look back at her incredible journey. I think I remember Katie Couric getting a huge sendoff with flashbacks and memories. Poor Ann got a few minutes on the couch where she apologized for things she really didn’t need to and no one backed her up saying “It’s not your fault.” I hope she does great in her new roles and wins a Pulitzer/Emmy or two. Keep fighting, Ann.
This book tore me to pieces. It is without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve ever read and the writing style of Cormac McCarthy (aka genius) is one that is not often seen.
Though this is not a book driven by dialogue, The Road still manages to speak to the reader and illustrate the journey the characters are in with great success.
The Road takes place in a post-apocolyptic world where nothing but the remants of an old world exist. This isn’t a zombie book and thank God for that. It follows a nameless man and his son on their journey across what was once the East coast of the United States with just one goal in mind: survival. All sense of happiness has been sucked out of this new world and has been replaced with fear, worry, and determination. One of the saddest factors in this book and one that moved me and made me want to cry is that the man and boy only go on for each other. The man would have no reason to survive if it wasn’t for his son, and the son really doesn’t want to be there either, which is hard to read. He’s not old enough to remember the world before it went to hell, so he relies on his father to tell him of what used to be. Since he doesn’t know real happiness and survival is so difficult, he would rather just not even try. To read that a little boy wants to give up on life but only keeps going for the sake of his father is gut-wrenching.
What I love about this book is the fact that the characters are nameless. By doing this, McCarthy allows for their situation to extend to anyone going through what they are enduring. This new world and the challenges that come with it affect everyone who is left standing, and therefore apply to all involved.
The Road is a never-ending road and I think McCarthy does that on purpose. You’re left with an ending when the book is finished, but you still have no idea what the future will hold for those involved. When will the journey end, if ever? Are they ever really safe? Who can you trust? All unanswerable questions, but that’s what would happen in a post-apocalyptic world. We don’t know.
This book won a Pulitzer for good reason. I highly recommend this book to everyone. The writing style may be a little difficult to get used to, since you never know who is saying what. That’s also the beauty of it. Their dialogue is so interchangeable at times that it might be interesting to read it from the perspective of the man, and then the boy. A movie was done on the book, which I have yet to see, but do plan on seeing. Though if a movie will be able to convey the raw emotions that come from this book…I highly doubt. A new classic has definitely been born with The Road.
If you enjoyed reading the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series during your teenage years that were riddled with angst and heartbreak, then it’s time for your adult-self to read this grownup version. Sisterhood Everlasting takes place 10 years from the time the last book ended. Even though time has passed, it doesn’t seem like these girls have changed very much. Sure they’ve aged and are living in the adult world, but it seems that they keep making the same mistakes or doing the same things that their teenage selves did.
Lena is an art teacher, lonely without Kostos; Bridget is still with Eric and is still living her life as a free spirit; Carmen is a somewhat successful actress and engaged to a fellow actor of the douchey kind; and Tibby…well, no one really knows what Tibby is up to. She moved across the world to Australia with Brian and hasn’t had much contact with the girls. In fact, the girls really are not as close as they once were. The pants are gone, and it seems that their friendship dissipated without the pants to keep them together.
With all the girls living in different parts of the country and the world and without their friendship to help them in this new stage of their lives, they all seem to be disjointed, living their dreams but not completely happy with it. Tibby decides to reach out to the girls and wants to get together to renew their friendship and everyone is on board, ecstatic to be together again. Life, though, is full of unexpectedness and they must face a challenge they didn’t really see coming. This challenge sends them spinning into their old habits (the bad ones). Their reactions to this show that though the girls have grown with age, they haven’t quite learned to grow up and fix the things that haunt them or go after what they really seek in life. However, this challenge will bring them closer together and teach them more about themselves.
This book is wonderfully written. There are many surprises, some that will put the reader in a state of shock. Ann Brashares does a great job of reconnecting you with the characters and you’ll really feel the pain and happiness they go through. This is a great way to close out the series and leaves you with a sense of where the characters will go from here. If you read the first four Sisterhood books, you definitely need to read this one.
I don’t live a particularly adventurous life, but I do find adventure an excitement through books. If you know me, you know that I am a bookworm to the core. I’ve always loved reading and I can be a pretty big nerd about it. I’ve arranged my bookshelf by genre, then alphabetically by author, then chronologically (this applies to my Shakespeare collection). Some people just put their books on the shelf and let it be. I think of my bookshelf as my own personal library (and I so badly want a card catalog!). If I’m really into a book, I’ve been known to read during meals, while walking, or staying up until 3am to finish a chapter and then rushing to sleep so that I can wake up and continue reading. Me and books have a pretty serious relationship that’s borderline obsessive.
Books were always my friend when I didn’t have many growing up. Books have the ability make you think about your life in new ways, help you appreciate the world around you, and let you escape from reality when that reality is less than perfect. I’ve read many books that have changed my way of thinking and have affected me profoundly.
So the blog…I want to share what I’ve read with you. Maybe you’ve read it, maybe you want to. This blog’s purpose will be to review books that I’ve read and hopefully help you to pick up that book. I won’t ruin the endings because that would be awful, but I’ll give you enough insight (I hope) to help you decide whether a book may be something you want to read. And if you have any suggestions, be it about my blog or a book you would like me to read/review, please let me know. Welcome to my big, geeky, bibliophile world.