We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Responding to the lectionary excerpt with anything but a nod may be risky. I have at times been contemptuous of Christian teaching, as C.S. Lewis was. Like Lewis, I have learned to be ashamed of my contempt. Unlike Lewis, though, I still find myself doubtful of the central tenet: that God had to incarnate Himself in order to placate Himself for the sins of His own children. If this isn't Christianity's central tenet, then 2000 years of tradition have been seriously distorted.
My dad would have found a better path and I'm sure God would, too.
The closest I can get looks like this: God didn't need to incarnate Himself to forgive us. We -- at least some of us -- needed to see a punishment before we could accept forgiveness. We needed the visible sacrifice. God's grace forgave us; the Passion was the proof we demanded, not God's price.