If Jesus’ Crucifixion Is the Solution, What’s the Problem?

I’ve got an article on Patheos’s homepage. It’s on — you guessed it — the atonement. It’s a summary of my thoughts on the issue (so far):

Christians know why Jesus died: He died for our sins. That’s what we’re taught from the earliest days of Sunday school.

And we all know how he died: A particularly gruesome form of public execution known as crucifixion.

But many Christians are less sure of how it works. How is it that Jesus’ death accomplishes the forgiveness of my sin? By what cosmic mechanism does that take place?

In other words, there comes a time in every Christian’s life when the Sunday School answer, “Jesus died for my sins,” falls short. We want to know how it works.

Read the rest: If Jesus’ Crucifixion Is the Solution, What’s the Problem?

Awaken Yourself…To a Free Book!

This post is part of the Patheos Book Club. Check out the Book Club for more posts on this book, an interview with the authors, and for responses from the editors.

Publishing is not dead. At least not as measured by the books that arrive on my doorstep every day to review and blurb. (Or maybe these publishers are all sending me books purely for my own edification. Bahahaha!)

About a lot of these books, I think: the folks who read my blog would probably like this. Some of those I get around to reviewing, and others get added to piles (with the best of intentions). Well, one came in the mail recently that I really do think will appeal to many of you. It’s Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The Sacred Journey of Transformation by David Benner.

Benner is a psychologist and spiritual director. In this book, he uses that expertise to examine mysticism, and to ultimately propose that mystical union with the Divine is possible. This isn’t a new proposal in Christianity, to be sure, but Benner’s book is significant for those of us who are drawn to mysticism but are also chastened by our training in the sciences. He writes,

Any awakening is, in effect, a response to an awareness of realities beyond our present self-organization. Such awareness of of these realities calls us to redefine and realign our self in relationship to transcendent realities that exist beyond our present awareness.

Patheos has a copy of this excellent book to give away. Anyone who signs up for my email list (or updates or confirms their subscription) will be entered to win. You can do that here. I’ll draw a name at random on the Monday after Easter.

[UPDATE: The book was won by Michelle Colon -- Congrats!]

C’Mon, Squirt a Few

At Duke’s Call and Response blog, Scott Benhase ties The Great Santini, one of the most iconic and troubling movies of my youth, to Lent:

The father is clearly damaged goods. He has a tough time expressing his emotions maturely and relating lovingly to his wife and children. He treats his children the way he treats his subordinates. One night he comes home drunk from an evening with his fellow officers and is in a foul mood. When he enters the family kitchen, he gets into an argument with his older son. When his wife intervenes, he slaps her. This causes his older son to come to his mother’s defense by striking his father with his fist. So, the father begins to pummel his son with his own fists. As he is doing so, his young daughter jumps on his back with her arms tight around his neck, yelling: “No Daddy, no!” The younger son, whimpering with his eyes shut tightly, wraps his entire body around one of his father’s legs trying to prevent him from stepping into his punches.

Read the Rest: Duke Divinity Call & Response Blog | Faith & Leadership | Scott Benhase: A sanctus bell.

A Better Atonement: Your Turn

We’re on the brink of Holy Week. I have been absolutely heartened at the robust conversation that we’ve been having on this blog around the atonement. It’s not an easy topic, I know. But it is extremely valuable.

So, next week, I’m going to post on the atonement every morning. (In the afternoon, Scot will be guest posting on Gagnon’s book, which will be great.) And I’m really hoping that you will join the conversation. I’ve set up a Storify and a Tumbler for the Atonement.

Here’s how you can join in: if you reflect on the atonement over the next week or so, let us know. Post your sermons, blog posts, Facebooks, tweets, for the rest of us to interact with.

You can join the Storify stream by posting your tweets with #ABetterAtonement.

You can post to the Tumblr by sending an email to fubrauf476@tumblr.com. You can also submit a post directly here.

Let us know about your post, sermon, even your tweet. We’re all in this together.

You can read all of the posts, and my past posts on this topic, here.