Anyway, so way back a few months ago I read Tony Jones e-book on The Atonement titled A Better Atonement. (You can find my posts about atonement theory here: http://www.methodistmissionary.com/1/category/atonement/1.html) Tony basically had two main goals: 1) debunk some of our typical thinking about Original Sin, and 2) dethrone Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement from its prominence. He did this by presenting multiple theories of the atonement that have been presented throughout Christian history. The two most recently developed theories being "The Last Scapegoat" and "The Solidarity Theory". He does a good job giving a general overview of each and showing some fo the dangers. The Solidarity Theory is very intriguing and I never quite got around to it here on the blog. So here it is...
The inspiration for the theory comes from Jurgen Moltmann. A great theologian whose experience of The Holocaust colors his theology. Speaking from that experience and his understanding of The Gospel, Moltmann puts forth the idea that Jesus' death on the cross is God's choice to be in solidarity with us in suffering. He uses the term "godforsakenness" to name the intense oppression and suffering that Christ faces on the cross, which is witnessed to by his saying "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Human beings also experience godforsakenness when experiencing oppression and suffering. God chooses to be with us through it all. This choice is very powerful for those who face incredible oppression and suffering. It means you are not alone, God is with you. That brings great hope.
Here are the closing thoughts from Jones:
Our call is to identify with Christ's suffering and death, much as he has identified with us. In his death, we are united with his suffering. And in identifying with his resurrection, we are raised to new life.
In the crucifixion, God opens the Trinity to us. The eternal love of the Trinity is made available to us in the ultimately humbling act of death on a cross, and our experience of godforsakenness is overcome, for we are now welcomed into the relation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.