Friday, June 05, 2015

Being Christian Without Obsessing on Sin or Salvation

I have a high anthropology (you are God's miracle and not God's mistake; or, if you are in the undecided column about a universal Power/Presence, then I would say you are a person of innate dignity and unlimited potential) and a low Christology (you can dig Jesus without seeing him as being uniquely can see him as a good and noble person inspiring others to live into their potential, or you can see him as letting the divine spark that is in all life shine through him - an Example rather than Exception).

Why should you care about my liberal brand of Christianity that abhors atonement theologies? Well, maybe you don't; but, if you also have difficulties with the idea that people are innately bad and can only be "fixed" (or "saved") by believing that Jesus being tortured to death was part of a divine plan to satisfy a deity who could think of no better way to be in relationship with his (sic) creation, then I do want you to know there are other faithful ways of exploring the Christian faith (without condemning any other spiritual tradition).

I honestly do not believe that Anselm (middle ages aristocrat who gave us the "Satisfaction" theory, i.e., Jesus was tortured to death to satisfy God's warped sense of righteousness) and liberation can be presented at the same time. Jesus died by crucifixion at the hands of a cruel empire; his death was brutal, unjust, unnecessary, and, as Theologian Delores Williams so wisely said, "There was nothing of God in the blood of the cross." YMMV, but that is 100% my view. Jesus died because mean people killed him, not because a "loving" deity demanded it. But, his death didn't end his purpose, his mission, his message, or his community (Resurrection!).

The miracle of Christianity isn't that Jesus (like so many other dissidents) was executed; the miracle is that his execution was meant to silence his message and end his movement and it failed. The miracle of the cross is that it didn't work. That is a message I can embrace and share. Any notion that Jesus died for me (or needed to) is not one that I could ever embrace or share. There is more than one way to be Christian. This is the good news.

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