soul care, pt. 2 - God's idea of humanity

We ended last month's blog simply proposing an alternative to the enlightment thought of, “I think therefore I am” with a more existential view of humanity, “I am what I love” - or we as beings are more than just cognitive accomplishers, after all, we all know things to be true that the mind can't comprehend nor explain.  This ides, we proposed should be followed by two sub-ideologies:

  • soul-care practices shape and direct and affections
  • the shape of my affections shape the belief and function of my personhood

This idea leaves us asking, “if practices prove what I believe to be vital and necessary to the creating and deepening of my whole person, then what do my daily intentional practices prove my values and beliefs to be about my humanity?”  To put this in statement form, would be to say, “my current daily rhythms and practices prove my values and beliefs more than my verbal affirmations.”

When this sort of self-audit is performed, often times we are left realizing that what we truly believe and value is contrary to our verbal confession.  For example, while we may verbally confess Jesus to be Lord, often times our functionality prove otherwise - they prove that culture, self, promotion, platform, perception, money, spouse, job, etc are truly Lord of my life, and Jesus is a token that helps me justify my current self-centered life by using spiritual verbiage - in other words, many of us, while we verbally confess Christ as savior, are instead, functional pagans, bowing our knee to any altar that satisfies our selfish desires and brings glory to self.  What ever my affections are pointed toward will always play out in daily rhythms and practices.

So, if our goal is to be the type of whole person who is ontologically human and Godward, then functionally we would be the type of person who has in place practices and rhythms that support, strengthen, deepens, heals, and ultimately cares for our soul, as to shape a soul that creates in us a personhood that is human and Godward.  So we are left with a simple question: “what is God’s idea of my humanity?” Once answered, this leads to a follow up question, “what practices, disciplines, and rhythms help solidify, deepen, and form me into that type of human?”

God’s idea of humanity:  The most encompassing description of humanity comes in the first few chapters of Genesis - here we are described as the very image of God himself - in other words, being the image of God is normative to our humanity.  Another way to say this, would be to say we are most fully human when we are most clearly imaging God.    We have a couple options to determine what the image of God most clearly looks like in human form:

  • Option 1 - we begin to go through all of scripture and sort out all the actions, characteristics and dispositions that are attributed to God and then divide those up into divine actions that cannot be portrayed in a human and principles, actions, dispositions, and characteristics that could be seen and attributed to realm of mortality...or...
  • Option 2 - we simply find a human that already and most perfectly images God, which we find in Jesus.

The next step would be to find a good summation of how Jesus’ lived and functioned as the very human who was the image of God.  In my opinion, I realize there are MANY passages that do us this favor, define and summarize Jesus' functional humanity, but one of my favorites is found in the book of Philippians, chapter 2, verses 5-8.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who thought he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  and being found in human form, he hubmled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross...

I believe here, we see a few things - we see a functioning life that flows out of the heart of God's love, mercy, righteousness, holiness, and justice, and we see Jesus living in a way that best reflects the very essence of God's idea of a humanity that images him to the world around him:

This blog is a bit too lengthy as it is, so we'll spend the next blog or so defining what this might mean in our daily lives, and then we'll finally dig into the practices, rhythms, and disciplines...