How does one deal with despair? Are joy and despair irreconcilable? How does the joy and despair of Jesus Christ relate to our joy and despair?
Continuing to explore the implications of the vicarious humanity of Christ as he did in The God Who Believes, Christian Kettler investigates the christological implications of the all too human phenomenon of despair. All people experience the pain of personal loss and lack, of the meaninglessness of existence. We also desire and covet joy, as difficult as it is often to define or maintain. Jesus was both "the man of sorrows" and one who "for the joy set before him endured the cross" (Heb 12:2). Can we think of the despair of Christ and the joy of Christ as both being vicarious, in our place and on our behalf, and thus have a theological way to possess joy in the midst of despair as well as to have a more robust theology of the atonement? Drawing on wide-ranging resources from Augustine, Calvin, Karl Barth, and T. F. Torrance to Bob Dylan, the fantasy writer Ray Bradbury, and Ed Wood, the director of Plan Nine from Outer Space, Kettler seeks to bring Trinitarian and incarnational theology deep into our flesh, filled with real despair and joy, and find that Jesus is there, with his own despair, there to lift us up with his own joy.