Atonement literally means at-one-ment, the remaking at-one of God and the world.
There are all sorts of problems with atonement theology as it has generally been constructed in Christianity. Like the myth of redemptive violence. Like the divine child abuse model. Like its entirely individualistic nature.
But we talked about broken systems and broken people, and a world in need of liberation, and a God who enters into places of violence and refuses to be complacent, who instead provokes a response.
We talked about unmasking violence and injustice.
And it seems to me that there is something worthwhile here.
We listened to a podcast of This American Life from a couple of years ago, at my roommate's urging. And in the podcast a man talked about telling his 4 year old daughter about Jesus when she asked him what Christmas was about. And then later she saw a big crucifix and asked, "What's that?" And so he told her, "That's Jesus too."
Then they went out for lunch on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. And she saw a picture of Dr. King. And she said, "Who's that?" And he told her. And she said, "So he said what Jesus said?" And he said, "Yeah, I guess that's true." And she said, "Did they kill him, too?"
We are so broken. We are so in need of healing. And God will do anything--God will die if need be--to bring it about.
This Lent, I'm not giving up on atonement.