The God We Never Knew

Submitted by Peter on

cover picture

In this book, Marcus Borg has done for God what he did for Jesus in a previous book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Examining God from an intellectual, theological and experiential standpoint, Borg gently dismantles images of God that, in the last 30 or 40 years, have ceased to be persuasive to many, and offers a new and compelling portrait of God that invites readers to reconsider their relationship with the sacred. Borg argues that older images of a monarchical God who is distant from us discourage intimacy with God. These models' images of domination and subjection, according to Borg, carry over into our relationship with nature, politics and one another. Borg's alternative image of God, ""the belonging model,"" portrays a compassionate God who is always with and amongst us, seeking relationship. Writing clearly, summarizing some of the best of contemporary theology in nontechnical language, Borg continues to speak to, and to challenge, the widest possible audience. This bookstudy will take place from January 5 to February 9, 2014.


1 – What ( have you done | would you do ) to best promote God's domination free order?

2 – When did you act for the improvement of your community at your individual expense? How did it feel?

3 – Are your taxes too ( high | low )? (We will vote by a show of hands.)

4 – Is there anything better than money as a reward for individual initiative?

5 – How wide should the gap between the top 10% and the bottom 10% be?


6 – Which of the Biblical images of salvation best describes your life?

7 – How do grace and faith fit into your life? Do you agree with Borg's juxtaposition?

8 – Does everyone have an opinion about what happens after life?

9 - “We can not solve not-knowing by believing.” Comments?

1 – Is being born our initial separation from God?

2 – Our industrial society is economic. What would th world be like if it were not based on economics?

3 – Do you have a favorite spiritual practice? What is it?

4 – What happens when you hear scripture read in worship? (What goes on in your mind?)

5 – Which of the list of communal sacred things do you find most significant? Which least? Why?

6 – Do you agree with: “All the practices I have described are thus part of second hand religion.”?

7 – Comment about your prayer life. Were Borg's ideas illuminating?

8 – Is your religious life transformative? How?

9 – In what other book have you read of the Dream of God?

10 – Why doesn't theocracy work?

11 – Why did the Israelites want kings again?

12 – What does systemic evil look like today (or recently)?

13 – Is philanthropy of the ultra rich a smoke screen to keep the majority of people from recognizing the systemic injustice that causes the ruin of the poor?

14 – Is the American Dream a view of the world through the eyes of the Pharisees?

1- How do you understand the divinity of Jesus?

2 – If “spiritual reality” is not an oxymoron, what does it mean?

3 – Order the five-stroke-sketch in their order of importance to you, with the most important first.

4 – What do you think of Borg's description of the resurrection? (pgs. 92-3)

5 – Do you have a particular understanding of the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection that you like best? Which one(s)? and why?

6 – Do you give more weight to the pre-Easter Jesus or the post-Easter Jesus? Why?

1 – Is it a good idea to “image God”?

2 – Can you find another, unmentioned, metaphor for God? What is the relational value of your metaphor?

3 – Give two opposite images from an unlisted category.

4 – How does God fit into a democracy?

5 – How does living in Pharaoh's house affect our understanding of the monarchical model?

6 – What is YOUR main objection the the monarchical model?

7 – Imagine a Christianity based on God's daughter, Christina. OR “For God so love the world that God sent God's only daughter into the world so that.....”

8 – Why are the most plentiful and powerful images of God anthropomorphic?

9 – Which difference do you see as most important, and why? (You need not pick one of the author's.)

1 – Does panentheism fit your idea(s) of God? How (or not)?

2 – Describe an experience in which you knew God as opposed to knowing about God.

3 – Why do we think visions came from God?

4 – Have you ever taken a spirit journey that you would like to share?

5 – Why do you think “mysticism has not been well regarded by much of modern Protestant theology”?

6 – What do you make of the I-It vs I-You differences on pg. 42?

7 – Do you think our world is “fading” into flatland?

8 – Does God “yearn to be known by us”? What is the difference between this statement and the previous content of this chapter?

Preface. 1. What has been most helpful to you as you “make[...] sense of the Christian tradition.”?

Introduction. 2. Comment on any of the 8 questions in the Intro.
3. How would you distinguish between “God” and “the sacred”?

Chapter 1. 4. Why do you think the concept of God, or how you think about god, matters?
5. Borg has two concepts of God. What others can you think of?
6. What do you think panentheism means?
7. What are the advantages & disadvantages of teaching religion to young children vs teaching it much later in life?
8. How does your experience of being disenchanted fit into this chapter?
9. Where does your experience of thinking about God agree or differ from Borg's as you grew up?