What does it mean to be human? This is the question I have pondered for many years. And quite honestly, I don’t know the answer sometimes.
Maybe our humanity is made for love, humility, grace and compassion. Why do we so often label ourselves as “sinners” at the expense of experiencing ourselves as created in the image of God. This is a wonderful thought! You and I are amazing creatures with so much wonder, mystery and beauty to be explored within us.
Our true selves are beautiful as we are beloved and our essence is of love. I am coming to see that God is not about judgment, but about love. God is love. We are most fully alive when we find the truest part of ourselves that embodies love. Maybe this is what it means to be human.
There is so much focus on sin in Christianity that there little room for finding our true selves within. Why do we believe that there is nothing good within us? There is so much that is good within us, within our true selves. Are we afraid to look inside to find our beautiful power that is manifested as an expression of love in the world here and now?
Do we fear the love within us? What makes us fear our humanity? What keeps us from self-awareness? Why do we let ourselves become trapped within the devaluing label of “sinner.”
Sure nobody is perfect and there is some reality to sin within the world, but why is there such an extreme focus on this to the point that if you raise questions others might call you a heretic. Well, maybe I want to be a heretic as the church doesn’t embody much love these days. Maybe we need more heretics and less of propositional loveless theology. Have we lost our humanity and become estranged from our true selves?
What will it take to embrace our humanity again? What will it take to discover that we are being led to embodiment and not to disengagement within the world? What will it take to ask questions around the extreme religious doctrines of sin that keep us in fear, being controlled and manipulated by an unhealthy church that has little interest in authentic community?
I just want to be human without all the bullshit. I don’t care about the labels, categories and boxes anymore. Freedom in my true self as created in the image of God is what I want to believe in. I already feel bad enough about myself sometimes that I don’t need an extra load of guilt and shame from those who live in high places to devalue my humanity.
Here are 4 reasons why our humanity is important to value.
1. In our humanity is the embodiment of love
Our spirituality cannot be holistic without becoming fully human through our love. Our spirituality needs to be lived through reflection and rest. Our spirituality needs to be embodied in our humanity.
2. Only in our humanity can we be fully alive
David G. Benner writes, “For only a lived, holistic spirituality can be transformational, integrative, and capable of helping us become fully alive and deeply human.”
Without our humanity, we cannot be the body of Christ together in everyday life. Without our humanity, there is no possibility of life. Without our humanity, there is no humility or compassion. Without our humanity, there is no relational connection in our local community. Without our humanity, there is no faithful presence.
Without our humanity, we have pretty much nothing. We are shells of individualistic illusions. We bring colonialism and destruction to the land. We need our humanity more than we realize. We need to practice reflection and rest to become human as we cultivate the mystical imagination in the parish.
3. In our humanity we experience the mystery of the gospel
In reflection and rest, we experience the mystery of the gospel within ourselves. We experience an everyday conversion where we are constantly being shaped as we change the world through allowing this change to happen in us.
4. In our humanity we live out the gospel beyond words
The gospel is for us more than it is for others as we live it out without words to define it. We need to experience the good news in us, in our local community, to become human. We need to constantly convert ourselves to a relational way of life in the place we inhabit together.
My friend Tony Kriz says, “…the gospel has something to say about every aspect of existence and particularly every part of the human experience…”
When you think of the word humanity what do you think of? a) sinner, b) beloved, c) created in the image of God, d) worthless, e) beautiful, f) mysterious, g) something else.