We had a great discussion yesterday afternoon, and I'll do my best to recount a few of the good questions, comments and over-arching ideas. Feel free to post comments that add what I missed.
- Zack led off the discussion by sharing that the classic idea of God killing Jesus for the payment of our sins makes him feel like he is forced to love God because he is in debt and has to escape hell. He wondered if there were other (better?) ways of understanding what exactly happened at the cross.
Kate shared some great information about different historical perspectives, especially Lutheranism. For more on historical perspectives, read this summary.
- Several times it was mentioned that it is important to have an understanding, or at least a framework of what happened at the cross in order to be able to evangelize and answer questions of non-believers. Zack continually raised a very good point: If what we believe about the cross is not essentially about forgiveness of sins and a "ransom payment," how does that change how we evangelize?
- Nancy shared some very powerful words about her experiences of asking for and receiving forgiveness. She also helped us to understand that the beauty of Jesus' sacrifice can have personal meaning to everyone.
- An important question posed by Jane was, "How can we move from just a cognitive/head knowledge of the Atonement, to it affecting our hearts?" In other words, how does the resurrection change my life more than the simple fact that I believe a city called Paris exists? One answer given was that it how you understand the atonement will necessarily condition how it changes your life.
- Jesse shared an analogy of a kaleidescope: The atonement is an amazingly beautiful and intricate event, and we can examine how it works from the outside, like looking at a kaleidescope. But the point isn't to be able to understand how a kaleidescope works, but rather to enjoy looking through it, and marveling at the beauty. Also, depending on what light you point the kaleidescope at, and how you move it, you will get different beautiful pictures. If you look at the atonement in different ways, different aspects will be emphasized.
- We also referenced the Emergent Village Atonement Metaphor Competition winners, which can be found here
Of course, there was much (MUCH) more shared, asked and answered, but this is a start. Again, please feel free to comment and recall aspects of the conversation that particularly stuck out to you, or perhaps questions that are still lingering.