Scott McKnight has a great conversation on atonement going on over at the Jesus Creed blog. The question is what do you do with the current theories of atonement when you live in a culture that doesn’t get sin? McKnight shares some excerpts from Alan Mann’s book, Atonement for a ‘Sinless’ Society.
“atonement is ultimately about the restoration of human/divine relations via the re-storying of the storied self
McKnight reports Mann’s book is broken into three sections concern (1) Sin as shame, (2) atonement as story, and (3) the use of Mark’s passion narrative as a story for converting to the atonement story of Jesus. another clip of McKnight’s quotes from the book
Mann contends that the operative word for the postmodernist is not “sin” but “shame,” and he defines shame as an “absence of mutual, intimate, undistorted relating that ultimately leads the postmodern self into a lack of ontological (or narrative) coherence” (19). Lots of verbage here, but the sense is this: postmoderns are not guilty of law because they don’t tell that “story” of sin; instead, there is an overwhelming sense that the “ideal” self and the “real” self are so far out of whack that they are “shamed” and afraid to disclose who and what they really are. A lack of inner coherence is what this shame is all about; the lack of a meaningful story or narrative that tells “my story” truly
I find this train of thought fascinating just this past week I was talking with a colleague and member of the Mosaic Life community about my take on the role of shame and guilt in relation to sin.
My take: shame is an internal marker of our sin (brokenness and disconnect from God) in response to grace that is activated by the Holy Spirit as the image of God in us comes to conscious awareness of our need to be more like Jesus. Guilt is the external measure of behavior in response to the expectations of others and motivated by adherence to the law.
Then this past Sunday I tried to communicate atonement from a post Christian perspective in my message at Mosaic Life.
At-one-ment is God’s love motivated action to bring us to wholeness and holiness (something we cannot do ourselves because we’re broken) in our relationship with God by Jesus sacrifice. Jesus sacrifice expresses God deep and profound love for humanity and desire to be in relationship. Ephesians 2:1-16
Head over to Jesus Creed and check out the conversation is something worth thinking and talking about