Marcus Borg has passed away. He was a great scholar and Christian teacher. I’m grateful for his work and contributions to how we understand the Bible. Many churches preach an understanding of God that is punitive. Any form of Christianity that talks about the possibility of Hell sees God as punitive, no matter how much the language of grace is used. This is one of the most important ideas I encountered in his work. I think he’s right. Is God ultimately punitive or compassionate? Will our response to God be fear based (because we don’t want to be punished) or will we enter into a life free from fear? Borg demonstrated that the polarities of fear and compassion dominate how Christians talk about God. Is God a reality that gives us life and draws us into a deeper relationship each day or a divine score keeper, who watches us walk on egg shells and is ready to punish us from the moment we’re born? As Borg said, it matters how we talk about God.