Friday, October 26, 2007

Still reading

I'm still working through Scot McKnight's A Community Called Atonement. It's short enough that I probably could have finished it in a couple days. But my attention has been taken up by Tolstoy's Resurrection, which is a lot longer and deeper. And has a better plot.

But when I have a moment, I pick up Community and read a chapter or two.

One of my favorite quotes so far:

"This generation of students doesn't think the 'I'm not perfect, just forgiven' bumper sticker is either funny or something to be proud of. They believe atonement ought to make a difference in the here and now. . .If a previous generation was taught that evangelism and social justice were disconnected, even if one could (or even should) flow from the other, the present generation knows of a holistic human being in an interlocking society of connections where any notion of gospel or atonement must be integrated and community-shaped if it is to be called 'good news' at all. As God is missional (missio Dei) so the work of the church and individual Christians is also missional. To be missional means to participate in the missio Dei, the mission of God to redeem this world."

What I really like about McKnight's work is that he emphasizes the real-world issues. Too often our theological discussions remain cerebral and technical, and don't spill over into the "what difference does it make in real life" realm. The atonement especially - it all becomes about what happened spiritually in Jesus, what happens in eternity. McKnight brings it back to earth, showing both that it can (and should) have a massive impact on how we live our lives today, and that, if it doesn't have physical, real-world impact, then it's not worth much as a doctrine.

Which, by the way, is part of the point Tolstoy is driving at in that other book I'm slogging through.

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