What if you had to create an elevator pitch for theological concepts? Something that encapsulated what you think is important about the concept for someone to understand, in plain English?
So, here’s the challenge. Choose a theological concept and write an elevator pitch for the concept. The elevator pitch should not be longer than 50 words, and should be as short as possible if you go over the 50. It should express what you think is the core of a theological concept, and be easily understandable by the average 8th grader.
Incarnation—When God put on flesh and lived with us. This intersection between human history and divine history allows us to know a bit more about God.
Atonement—The way we become united with God. None of us have figured out exactly how this happens. But we have some ideas. Most people think that atonement occurs through the life, death, and/or resurrection of Jesus.
Christus Victor—Unity with God happens through Jesus’ resurrection. It is the thought that when Jesus was raised from the dead, he became the victor over sin and death, and so we can be victors over sin and death too.
Satisfaction—Unity with God happens through Jesus’ death. In many ancient religions, there was the thought that to appease the divine, blood had to be offered. In Christianity, substitutionary atonement holds that Jesus was the last of these gifts. Because he died, and he was the perfect gift, God was then satisfied.
(And I would have to add: I don’t believe that we have a blood-thirsty God.)
Moral Exemplar—Unity with God happens through Jesus’ life. Jesus is completely human and completely God, so through his teachings and through his example, Jesus teaches us how to be fully human.
Salvation—Is when we let God help us. Sometimes it’s a moment-by-moment thing.
The Gospel—Is good news in the form that we need it the most. When Jesus spread the gospel, sometimes it was through healing, sometimes through teaching, sometimes through feeding people.
The Holy Spirit—Is a person of the Trinity. The Spirit is the bond of love between God and Jesus, and the Spirit pours out upon us, as a bond of love. The Holy Spirit moves in us and among us, helping us to learn, giving us courage, and empowering us to seek justice and lift up the oppressed.
Creation—The ongoing process of God making us and the world. Since we’re made in the image of God, we are also partners in creation. As created beings, we are creative beings.
The Sovereignty of God—The idea that God’s ultimately in charge. It’s often a confusing concept, because we make choices, so it feels like we’re in charge of our own lives.
Sin—Actions that separate us from God.
The Fall—The myth of when humans first sinned. It
Heaven—In the Bible, heaven’s often the word for sky or the cosmos. I believe that when we die, God will enfold us into God’s love. We will return to God. And that’s heaven.
Hell—Separation from God.
The Crucifixion—It’s a form of execution and it’s how Jesus died.
Mission—The act of sharing the good news in the form that people need it the most. Whether that means helping to provide food, resources, water, medical supplies, care, compassion, or help along the spiritual journey, mission comes from our deep sense that we’re all made in the image of God and the hope that we might have justice and peace.
Immanence—The sense that God is close by.
Transcendence—The sense that God is beyond us.
Theodicy—That’s when we try to make sense of three things: (1) God loves us, (2) God is all-powerful, (3) bad things happen.
Biblical Inspiration—The idea that God inspired the words of Scripture.
Biblical Inerrancy–The idea that there were no errors in the first manuscripts of the Bible.
Biblical Literalism—The idea that the Bible is a chronological, historical account, and it is the only authority in our lives, in all disciplines, including science.
Okay, so I’m a geek. I had to add a couple of theories of atonement.
Anyone else up to the challenge? Anyone want to add to or rip apart my answers?