Wednesday, April 8, 2009

my lenten challenge

"But the idea that Jesus was deliberately handed over and abandoned by his Father to the fate of death is intolerable. When you think about it, what kind of Father is this? A sadist. Even Abraham drew back from killing his own son. This construal of the cross blames the Father for what in fact was done to Jesus by the history of human injustice. It schools people in patterns of thought that regard sadistic behavior as legitimate. When translated into spirituality, it encourages them to worship the executioner." p. 63

I am really struggling with Easter this year. It's not a holiday that you can just skip, like Columbus Day. As the centerpiece of the Christian religion you have to deal with the biblical events and their meaning. But what do you have to work with if you reject the notion that a Father God had his Only Son killed for your sake? That story is immediately grisly. Guilt-inducing. Illogical, at least to contemporary thinking. & maybe not coherent with the rest of the Gospel.

In the last couple of years I've encountered some new-to-me interpretations of scripture. There are other ways to understand atonement and, as in the quote above, the crucifixion. Unfortunately, I haven't found a community of believers that I can study and embody this stuff with. The churches I've visited either maintain the conventional interpretations or issue New Age teaching. Neither one sustains the depth and vision I'm seeking.

So I'm trying to find my way this season. I'm still attending church services (I love our quirky little community). And then, often prompted by something in a sermon or hymn, I'm still exploring what else it may all mean - in books, in my journal, and in my heart. The discord between what I'm hearing in my faith community and what I'm hearing in my heart is drawing me to continue my exploration. Surely there is something else, something essentially different, that is still true and it calls me to continue.

Johnson, Elizabeth A. Quest for the Living God: Mapping frontiers in the theology of God. New York: Continuum. 2007