some atonement talk via gchat in “plain language”

Friend:  this atonement stuff is FLYING over my head

Sent at 1:40 PM on Monday

 me:  ha – in those last two posts i’m really not writing to people who aren’t already studying it at all.  I plan to simplify later on actually.  I had a good talk with [another friend like you] about a lot of this recently, and I think he understood what i was getting at.  It’s just a vocabulary problem, in the same way if i were to try and read certain legal jargon…  i’m working on a response to Matt Chandler’s new book that will break down what i’m saying much more clearly i hope.
Friend:  I guess what I’m saying is I literally don’t even know how you are defining atonement, so the rest of it is jibberish to me since i have no experience with any of those writings
Sent at 2:24 PM on Monday
Friend:  but don’t waste your day trying to get me on your level, haha
 Sent at 2:26 PM on Monday
 me:  yeah… as if you’re not smart enough! (this friend is very smart) well in a sense thats exactly the problem – how do we define atonement.  In many of our experiences – for those of us with evangelical backgrounds – atonement is simply the idea that jesus paid/satisfied the “price”/sacrifice/penalty for our sins on the cross – and that is understood as the gospel, end of story. Many Christians have said much more than that though, and the Bible itself seems to be saying more than that.  A lot of it boils down to the way this teaching positively or negatively affects the Christian conception of the church’s purpose and mission in the world, and that is what i’m primarily concerned about
 Sent at 2:29 PM on Monday
Friend:  Ok. So what you are mostly talking about is how much further it might go
 Sent at 2:30 PM on Monday
 me:  sure, or maybe we could say how there’s another side
Friend:  got it
 Sent at 2:32 PM on Monday
 me:  it’s something many people already implicitly might know, but in certain circles it’s deemphasized if not intentionally downplayed – particularly in the most influential big (and affluent!) churches in the country with lots of younger people in attendance
 Friend:  that makes sense
 Sent at 2:33 PM on Monday
 me:  the other side, in brief, could be described as the way that jesus – as God – experiences suffering with all those who have suffered – and in this way is also accomplishing salvation from injustice. not just salvation from our wrong-doings or sinful nature.  Without taking it too far, God takes responsibility for the world, out of love, even though God doesn’t have to.
 Friend:  yes – that makes sense
 Sent at 2:35 PM on Monday
 me:  so it’s a matter of emphasis for me – i’ve heard the first part a lot, and it’s still [important, though i want to reinterpret a bit], but a failure to talk about the second, has left a lot of people wondering how the cross is really good news in a world full of violence, war, etc.
Friend:  yeah – i understand what you are getting at now
Not so much “why do bad things happen to good people”
but “how does Jesus relate to good people who bad things are happening to?”
 me:  well said
 Friend:  got it
 me:  and then, what is the church’s response as community called to bear witness to this
 Friend:  Yeah
 Sent at 2:39 PM on Monday
 
  me:  glad you asked

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