Alleluia! Christ is risen! Happy Monday and Happy Easter, my friends! I hope you all got to spend time with families and friends this weekend and that any clergy and ministry professionals among us are resting and recuperating. For progressive Christians and Christians who have been through or who are going through deconstruction, Holy Week and Easter can be a minefield of unpopular opinions, often known as heresy in church circles. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday there are so many opportunities to question events, stories, and theology which we have been told are unquestionable. How does one question Jesus’ death on the cross or his resurrection three days later and still call themselves a Christian? You could reasonably throw out Advent, most of the Christmas season—other than Christmas itself—Ordinary Time, Lent, the Ascension, and Pentecost, and you’d still have the basic Christian story. But without Christ becoming like us, dying for our sins on the cross, and conquering death and rising from the grave, how can you have Christianity?
I have many unpopular opinions—you all probably know that the best of anyone. My beliefs around the crucifixion and substitutionary atonement, to use its theological name, can almost ensure a rousing debate. My beliefs on the creation of LGBTQIA+ people by God routinely gets me hate mail and let’s not get started on my thought that the Gospel is inherently political. But I’m also among friends because regardless of your own theological beliefs on other topics, simply believing that LGBTQIA+ people are created in the image and likeness of God and are good just as they are, tends to be one of the most unpopular opinions.
If you think you hold unpopular beliefs even if you think you’re a heretic, know that you are in good company, because Holy Week and Easter are full of radical and questionable beliefs. First, God comes to earth and is put to death on a cross—whether as capital punishment or atonement—a death so horrific the Romans reserved it for non-citizens. Second, after three days that God who was thought to be dead, not only conquers death, but returns to life. Third, that while his male disciples hid for fear of a similar death, it is a group of women who encounter his empty tomb. Finally, and this is both the most radical and the most unpopular, Christianity becomes the only religion which begins with the death of God. If we accept traditional Christian theology that Christ had to die to save the world from sin, then our faith begins with the death of our God.
There are many other smaller unpopular, though totally understandable, opinions—Peter denying Jesus and Thomas doubting the risen Christ to name only two. Unpopular, radical, even heretical opinions should be embraced, challenged, and reasoned out.
What are some of your unpopular opinions? Do you ever struggle with Jesus’ death on the cross or his resurrection?
Let us pray: God, bless our heresy. Move us to examine and challenge our beliefs and the beliefs of others. Guide us to engage with beliefs charitably and graciously. Never let us fall into being accusers of one another but let us build each other up in the beautiful diversity of affirmation and pluralism. You empower humans to carry on the truths of the many paths to you, include us among those holy people. We ask this through your son who was mocked and jeered for the truth he brought. Amen.
Blessings on your weeks, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.