Wednesday, August 22, 2007
So I've been thinking about atonement metaphors and stuff. I've heard about these missionaries who go to a tribe and have to figure out how to express what Jesus did to this new culture. Sometimes they have to get pretty creative to figure out a metaphor that connects with the culture.
So has anyone guessed where I'm going with this? You're so smart!
I've become more and more convinced that our standard slew of atonement metaphors no longer connect to our culture. Without a solid moral standard it's hard to convince people that they need to be relieved of their guilt. People are often deeply offended by a God who would demand his son's death to appease his wrath.
So what's the answer? I have a suggestion. Let's talk about atonement as a healing process (the Greek work is katharsis from whence we get the word cathartic). It's a biblical concept (1 John 2:1-2) and it lines up with a lot of things that our culture is hungry for. The salvation process is about healing broken people in a holistic manner (salvation includes physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects). Healing is for everyone, not just those with certain sins - we're all in need of healing and we will always be in the process of healing.
What do you think? Is there really this need? Is this a good metaphor?