Dan Lower was even smart in college, as he shows in this end to a recent (rehashed) reflection:
Even at our most theoretical and uninvolved as Christians (and may I say in particular as an amateur Christian theologian) we are forced to get our hands dirty. Inevitably, it seems the case that one piece of the Inspired Word of God trumps another. And perhaps that is part of the point. Christianity is not a clean religion. It is not common-sense. If even the biggest theologians of a faith must get their hands dirty to do their work, what does this say for the lesser? If we’re not getting our hands, hearts, and minds dirty as Christians, it means we might have to reexamine whether we’re really going for the gold.
Thankfully, because we believe in a New Covenant it is allowed to us to talk somewhat of these things being a mystery, of not having everything handed to us on a silver platter, but handed to us nonetheless, of the world’s issues having been addressed to some degree at least, and Sin in some sense atoned for, even though we don’t really know why or exactly how. But when we get into specifics about what to believe, what to do, and what the Bible tells us–and to decide what orthodoxy meant, thousands of early Christians already had to do this, and imagine doing it without a defined canon!–when we get into the question of what the Bible tells us, of what we ought to believe and do, we get our hands dirty. We do have one agreement among us, at least, as a house; this is that God dirtied a hand for us in a very personal way. I suggest that it is our job, an imperative as Christians, to get our hands dirty in turn: by figuring out what we ought to believe and do, and by believing and doing it.
But not necessarily in that order.
Read the rest to find why he concluded as he did. But what struck me was not the text previous to the quote I took. It was rather the ringing truth of Dan’s words here. Christianity is a religion like no other. It is a God struck by humanity and the misery that comes with being born and knowing blood, sweat, and tears. He might not have noticed what he was doing (of course he did; the guy puts far more together about religion than I ever could), but the thought is reminiscent of Christ quite startlingly, as Jürgen Moltmann also knew:
The cross is the utterly incommensurable factor in the revelation of God. We have become far too used to it. We have surrounded the scandal of the cross with roses. We have made a theory of salvation out of it. But that is not the cross. That is not the bleakness inherent in it, placed in it by God. Hegel defined the cross: ‘God is dead’ —and he no doubt rightly saw that here we are faced by the night of the real, ultimate and inexplicable absence of God, and that before the ‘Word of the cross’ we are dependent upon the principle of sola fide; dependent upon it as nowhere else… Here God is non-God. Here is the triumph of death, the enemy, the non-church, the lawless state, the blasphemer, the soldiers. Here Satan triumphs over God. Our faith begins at the point where atheists suppose that it must be at an end. Our faith begins with the bleakness and power which is the night of the cross, abandonment, temptation and doubt about everything that exists! Our faith must be born where it is abandoned by all tangible reality; it must be born of nothingness, it must taste this nothingness and be given it to taste in a way that no philosophy of nihilism can imagine.
Now we come to it: God got His hands dirty; why should not we?