I didn’t participate in the last one, mostly because of school. The premise of the conversation is simple: Tony has asked Christian bloggers who self-identify as progressive to answer the question, “Why an incarnation?” What is the point, and what are the implications?
Honestly, if I really try to think about the idea that God (whatever, or whoever, that is) became a human -
That God took on human flesh.
That God probably picked his nose.
That God took a dump – several, in fact.
That God had B.O.
That God enjoyed the taste of food and wine (yes, real alcohol).
It doesn’t even make sense to me. Not even a little. I can tell you that my idea of “God” must be horribly wrong most of the time, because the “God” that I normally postulate doesn’t – can’t – do those things. Those things are somehow below the “God” that (I think) I believe in. But, according to the story of Christianity, that’s exactly what countless others within the faith have said they believed.
Further, I don’t typically like to think about the apparent vanity (re: Ecclesiastes) of life in general. Day in, day out, I go to work, do some school work, eat some food, spend some (hopefully meaningful) time with my family, go to sleep, and wake up to do it again. Every. Day. I’m going to do this for the majority of my life. And then I’m going to die. The apparent mediocrity and mundaneness found in life is absolutely overwhelming if I think about it too much.
God, however, decided to do something ridiculous. According to our story, God fully participates in the seemingly mundane and meaninglessness of life. God incarnates the fullness of God’s very essence inside of a measly, fragile, human being.
And by doing so, God does something beautiful. God participates with humanity – experiencing pain, suffering, anxiety, and the feeling of meaninglessness. God even experiences God-forsakenness at the point of death. And by doing so, his experience redeems the mundane that we all experience. It doesn’t make the mundane any less so; it simply reveals God as utterly and irrevocably immanent.