I’ve gotten some push back on Facebook to my last post, seemingly from some people who hear me saying something rather different from what I mean to be saying. In particular, it seems that my language connotes something different to people whose frame of reference is some of the cruder versions of substitutionary atonement than it does to me. I understand how people who have been hurt by human abuse of the idea of divine anger might not find my affirmation of God’s anger helpful. As I told the person who challenged me on a friend’s wall: if this is not the time for you to be thinking about reclaiming divine anger, please don’t give the matter another thought. In fact, go read some Julian of Norwich!
I don’t have the time or energy for a long post right now, so let me simply say that I do not believe in penal substitution, I do not find it in scripture, and I think it’s about crappiest idea ever unleashed on the church. Get that out of the way, and I think my thinking is reasonably clear. God’s anger and God’s love are the same thing, experienced two different ways. God is not wrathful toward you, though God may be angry about the ways your being has been distorted by sin, and want to reshape you to love with God’s love.
Now the matter of atonement deserves a little more nuanced a treatment than I can give it right now. Most literature available to the non-scholarly reader on the topic is crap (most scholarly literature on the topic is also crap). Suffice it to say that a lot changes when you don’t think of sin as a violation of a law requiring punishment, but as harm done that needs to be repaired.