“The reformation of the church … does not start with ideas and actions alone. We have too often believed that if we could just get a handle on postmodern theory or learn a handful of new practices we could change our churches. It doesn’t even start with simply a theoretical insight. Rather, it starts with the bravery to enter into the despair of death, with the audacity to seek the God of life in the deaths in our world and in ourselves… Too often we have asked, ‘What should we do?’ Or, ‘How should we think about this?’ But the real question … is, Who is this God? Who is this God and where does this God encounter us? Luther answered that this God is the crucified one and this God encounters us in death and despair, for this God has borne the full reality of annihilation. It cannot be happiness or wholeness where God encounters us. This may be a result of God’s encounter, but it cannot be the location. For if happiness and wholeness is the location of God’s encounter then only those who can be happy and whole can know and be with God. Only those who have denied the reality of living can claim to have encountered God. But God is not made known first in glory, but in brokenness, the brokenness of the body of Jesus.
“Christianity is faith in a God who enters death, who is overcome by the monster [i.e. death] so that the monster might be overcome. The church then is the community of despair, the community that enters deeply into the world for the sake of shared despair, for the sake of seeking God in the nothingness that the monster brings. The church is the community that enters into despair as celebration and joy, for entering into the despair of ourselves and our world we confess that we are encountering God. In so doing we are not discovering the answer to our many questions of yearning, confusion, and suffering, but rather the presence of God in these broken places. This is worth celebration and worship!”
Andrew Root, The Promise of Despair (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), pp. 75-76.