Shekinah Glory


Sometimes It Causes Me To Tremble
March 19, 2007, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Christianity, God, Grace, Jesus, Lent, Religion, Spirituality, thoughts

It was a rather slow day for my Saints and Sinners bakery. We made French bread and Vegetarian Minestrone soup. Both made the entire place smell fantastic. The only problem was that we forgot to buy eggs to replace the ones we threw out from the frig.

It is these middle days of Lent that really start to get to me. We sang “Raise High the Cross” and I just had to stop. If Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a requirement for any type of paradise then I am afraid that I will not be in that number. The suffering of Jesus has over time been less and less important to my personal salvation. I know that it has been central to many others throughout church history and to many conservative Christians. Instead of comfort and assurance it merely makes me sad.

There is a strange comfort in knowing that there was no real official atonement theory of the church until about the 11th century. This allows me to feel that even in some of the Church’s most conservative decades I would not have been burned at the stake for my beliefs (or lack thereof). Hearing about the suffering, torture and death of Christ does force me to think of those who suffer the same type of fate at the hands of others throughout the world (ie Rawanda, Sudan, Iraq, Israel, Uganda….) His death also reminds me that Jesus was human and experienced a real death. His heart stopped, the synaps in his brain quit firing and his lungs quite filling with oxygen. He did experienced the ultimate human experience, death. Still, I can not make the turn and be glad that Christ died, want to be washed in his blood or glorify that tragic death.

Wow this entry turned into a downer quick. Sorry, I guess as a pastor these sort of depressing examinations are appropriate for this time of year.

Peace!

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8 Comments so far
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If not atonement, then what is the point of Jesus’ death?

Comment by j4jesus

That is a great question. I am still pondering it at this point of my faith. I am also pondering Christ’s question, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” These are good questions to examine during the season of Lent.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Why pay attention to anything Jesus had to say? You are wrestling with the crucifixion. How about the resurrection? Is the resurrection your basis for even bothering to struggle with his crucifixion?

Comment by j4jesus

Wrestling is your word. I wrestled with this a long time ago. You also used the word struggle. That is getting closer, but your words denote that I am having a problem with Christ’s death. I am not convinced that sadness in the face of death is an innappropriate emotion. Struggle and sadness are what it sounds like Christ endured. When I read the texts it sounds like other human emotions that Jesus felt in those moments were abandonment, fear, sadness, disappointment and anger. All very human emotions.

Why pay attention to anything Jesus had to say?

I am a follower of Christ

Is the resurrection your basis for even bothering to struggle with his crucifixion?

I do not simply bother with the crucifixion, I believe that I am taking it seriously. It is however a living word that I believe in. Hopefully that does not make me obsessed with death. Yet, I have already spent a few hours reflecting on it.

I hope that is helpful.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

The crucifixion is crucial. I have spent the last three weeks encouraging “my flock” to make sure they come out for Holy Thursday and Good Friday services so that they do not just jump from Palm Sunday to Easter and never experience the crucifixion. Philippians 3: Paul says “I want to share in His sufferings . . .” Pretty important and both mystical and practical in the life of the beleiver. Explain how you mean your phrase “living word?” I am asking because there are so many who believe that Jesus was a great teacher who said and did stuff that we should also do, but they do not necessarily make the leap to the resurrection and the whole “son of God” claim.

Consequently, I think that is why substitutionary atonement cannot be our only understanding of the cross. If that’s all its about, then the resurrection is not theologically necessary for Christianity to survive. If its all about that kind of atonement, then it could have ended at the cross. I don’t believe that’s where it ended. Thus, there must be more to it than just substitionary atonement.

Comment by j4jesus

Interesting view. Thanks for sharing. As I have said in previous posts, I believe and I am comfortable living with this as a mystery. I believe that is why Paul comforts us by saying, “Now I see through a glass darkly.” I do not want to get in too long of a discussion of parsing scripture. God’s grace is ever expanding. It means God is accepting those whom I find unnacceptable.

I do think that if Christ’s words are ignored or minimized as atoning then most of his ministry is being ignored. The living word refers to my reading of John 1.

Thank you for your comments. You are in my prayers.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Very interesting thoughts. It is interesting to read the words that Jesus stated as his death neared. He was very human, and at time his human ego spoke as well as at times while hanging on the cross he said some very spiritual words. This is part of the complexity of the Christian faith, the humanity and the divinity of Christ.
I believe inside and outside of Christianity this is an illustration of the duality of us humans. We have an ego based side and we have a spiritual based side and the goal is to return and live within our spiritual side and put our ego aside.

Comment by tobeme

tobeme you should check out the Jungian website on my page. Their office and programs are in my church.

Comment by pastorofdisaster




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