Thursday, December 31, 2009


A bloody rerun!

Worth repeating, from ER, January 2008. I think these are still my thoughts on these issues and images regarding atonement, blood atonement, and so on.


"Jesus's death paid the price for our sin. That's the basic message of orthodox Christianity, I think."

Orthodox Christianity (capital or lower case) rather finds the incarnation to have provided the bridge over the chasm between creation and the divine (the real "price" for sin). In this way, "paying a price for our sin" is accomplished first by the Word of God being made flesh, thereby closing the gap on our being perfected, our education, our capacity to love.

The cross, then, serves to prove that God did indeed will to share in mortal creation and has gloriously provided a way for mortal life to defeat death and enter immortality.

This is orthodoxy as forged from certain conceptions of Greek philosophy and first Christian faith.

Paying a blood price is a secondary presence in the NT, mostly Paul, but it is most of what protestants tend to see (and then naively call it orthodoxy, having closed off the horizon from "exotic" - though prior and more ancient - theologies.

(Feodor does not lose any huff despite the season of fudge.)
Crap. I think I agree with you.
Theological education (and I don't mean just you recent work) is always hard on loyalties; no matter the team.
Yes, but I still see value in the old imagary and old understandings. I mean, if people want to wallow around in the blood, far it be it from me to take them to task for it. Just don't require that I see it that way.
I think the history of civilizations suggests that people who wallow in blood usually will ask for more - from someone or someones.

The Cold War was unique in this way.
Something my theology of the cross wants to preach about the cross: no need to ask for any more blood.

And the one who shed that blood is no longer bleeding, not longer dying on the cross.

Atonement obsessed Christians loss the glorious, cosmic embracing, end of the story, and thereby often do not have a "relationship" with the living Christ at all... they are friends with a zombie, and there are bad consequences to doing what zombies would do.

I think they eat their own as well.
Zombie Jesus! I think I used that phrase in a conversation with Dr. ER just the other day. (She is learning some, by living with a Baptist-turned-UCC'er in seminary, since I talk a lot about what I think about a lot. :-)
So, the Cross. There it is. An instrument of capital punishment. Bloody. Brutal. Barbaric. And yet ... and yet ...

At the Cross, at the Cross, I DID see the light -- the light of God God's own self, in Christ, reaching across the cosmos, the every of thingness (words do fail) to touch ME.

In my 8-year-old mind's eye, I did see the Cross as a bridge, more than an instument of torture, not knowing anything about the details other than it was a thing upon which Jesus died. I know that what I saw was two corner posts, creosote-soaked railroad ties we had at the corner of our barbed-wire fences. I had walked across them when placed across a truck bed. A bridge. The vertical shaft from God's Godness to my little me-ness. The crosstie, a natural horizontal extension of that Godness, God's Love, God's Reaching-Outness, which, I admit I then only vaguely "got," but an idea that has been built upon ever since.

And so, I still do love that old rugged Cross.
Lord have mercy ER. I ditto all that I said two years ago times twice.

But I will re-emphasize the boughten blood aspect. ATMs in the church in order to give visible cash offerings, Temple tax and money changers to make sure the diaspora bought their share of blood, all volunteer paid military to kill and shed their blood for us.

It is no coincidence that the "cross" only became ubiquitous as the Christian Symbol only after Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire. Blood, Conquest, and
Proselytization were central tenants of the Christianize Roman Empire.

As for Blood Songs, there is none better than that by Tex Ritter:

Blood On The Saddle

" There was blood on the saddle and blood all around
And a great big puddle of blood on the ground

A cowboy lay in it all covered with gore
And he never will ride any broncos no more

Oh, pity the cowboy, all bloody and red
For the bronco fell on him and bashed in his head

There was blood on the saddle and blood all around
And a great big puddle of blood on the ground"
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