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Why Human (Chapter 1)

At the heart of this chapter are a couple of definitions. The first concerning Jesus that he is the only true human one. Not simply fully human but he was what it is to be truly human, made in the image of God.

The second definition is seeking to move 'sin' away from falling short of a standard (defined in terms of rights and wrongs, though of course that remains the case). Rather I consider that the real issue of sin is to fall short of what it means to be human, truly human  To be truly human is where the glory of God is revealed, to fail to be truly human is to fall short of the glory of God, all (and in the context Paul is explaining that it is Jew and Gentile alike, one with the law and one without) have sinned... and fallen short of the glory of God.

Following on from this comes the important element of dehumanisation. This is the work of the demonic, but religion can easily come on board at this point seeing and treating humans as objects. This is present in Jesus' critique of 'lust' which objectifies someone as the focus of sexual pleasure. Very sobering, but evangelical faith ('hard-line' or 'main-line'?) can even do this with evangelism. Friendship, but with a goal in view, rather than friendship for friendship' sake. Or surveys on doors that are to lead somewhere - the survey being a cover. Simply a technique or a falsehood; a help to make a connection or a substitute for the time-consuming work of friendship?

The final part suggests that there are those who believe in 'God' but their faith is in 'god'. At one level we all have a 'god' that is less than 'God'. I push this further with regard to professing atheists. What 'god' do they not believe in - I suggest that most who believe in 'God' are also atheists, in the sense of not believing in the god the atheist has objected to.

This also opens up the possibility that there are atheists who humanise people and as a result are close to 'seeing' God.

The chapters that follow will build on this one. So in terms of questions:

  • Have you considered the aspect of Jesus being the only truly human one?
  • How does 'sin as failing to be human' fit with your ideas? How would that give a different paradigm to your considerations?
  • Do you think it is a valid criticism to consider some forms of evangelism as dehumanising?
  • Atheists who can see 'God' even though denying the existence of God / god but can see others by giving value to them?
  • Have you considered the aspect of Jesus being the only truly human one?in light of this proposition I have been thinking about what are the essentials in terms of Jesus’ distinct humanity. It also leads me to consider the state of Adam. The story of Jesus conception and birth are the beginnings in our history but the desire was from the beginnings of time. The “concept” was born out of community ( The Trinity in short). He would have known community ( although different from our own) pre conception. The human Jesus needed to be born into community and the community aspect of his life from conception to ascension is an essential. To be fully human , community was/ is essential. It is in his dialogue , interacting with others,( love, compassion passion,power, self sacrifice)  out working his calling in community that we see his humanity displayed. 
    This got me pondering the Adam situation too. “ born” out of the desire of a community ( let us make man in our image) and the exclamation “ it is not good for man to be alone “ giving community a high value.. it suggests that isolation is not good fir our humanity( topical at the moment) but also essential for our true humanity. Social interaction can have it’s downturns as Adam and Eve discovered but Jesus showed us how to navigate and beautify our   Humanity in relationship as well as presenting to us our “ falling short” so that we will understand what  we are called to rather than settling for less. 
    so is the True humanity that which Paul calls “ The Hope of Glory”? Knowing that we cannot change ourselves but that it is Christ in us that brings forth our true humanity? 
  • How does 'sin as failing to be human' fit with your ideas? How would that give a different paradigm to your considerations? 
    Jesus being the standard to mark our humanity against might get us into all kinds of striving and disappointment. If I think of Jesus as a mirror then the more I focus on his humanity and imitate that then I might just get to reflect back his humanity. I sense that “ but our justified freely by his grace” part is not just our “get out clause” but is hope of the transformation through “ Christ in us the Hope of Glory”
  • Do you think it is a valid criticism to consider some forms of evangelism as dehumanising? 
    As a previous door knocking, clipboard doorstep evangelist in a previous church existence it always felt a littler false to be cold calling without an “ earned” right to share or  elicit peoples God perspectives. It goes back to the heart of community where people see Humanity before they can see God. Reminded that people watch our lives/ actions  to see how we “speak” . Any mismatch suggests insincerity or hypocrisy . Programs that see people as “souls to be saved” seems to dehumanise people.  
  • Atheists who can see 'God' even though denying the existence of God / god but can see others by giving value to them? 
    Ironically  it was the atheists in my extended family who in my younger years showed love, compassion, kindness and intuitive understanding which brought some measure of healing and restoration through those acts. So in a way I got to see something of Jesus humanity in them even in their older years. The indeed gave me value which has resonated throughout my life. I have born the scars of many  a believers words or acts ( forgiven) but symptomatic of what church/ church programs can do when people seek position/ pre-emininence/ privilege and not taking the lower stance of preferring others ( may have unwittingly done this myself) . 
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