Atonement and the Ordinary

Last year, I read Julie Canlis’ wonderful, little book A Theology of the Ordinary (2d, ed.;Godspeed Press, 2018). The book emerged from the author’s “extended meditation on this cultural obsession with greatness and being ‘impactful'” (2). Canlis ponders whether “our culture’s emphasis on supercharged emotions and measurable success blinded us to Romans 12 and the fact that our ordinary lives are our ‘spiritual act of worship'” (3)? In the rest of the book she precedes to sketch out a brief “theology of the ordinary” organized around the themes of creation, redemption, and new creation.

While the book as a whole is well worth the investment of the relatively brief amount of time it takes to read, with Lent on the horizon, I wanted to share an excellent quote from the “Redemption” chapter on atonement:

“On the cross, Christ does not do something called ‘the atonement.’ He is the atonement. In Him, our diseased human nature has been bent back to its original purpose: to be in communion with God. The atonement does not establish God’s love – it stems from it. The cross gives us a glimpse into the heart of God, who would prefer his own death to our own (Romans 8:3). The important thing to note is this is not something Jesus ‘does.’ It is who He is that saves us” (38).

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