NO NEED TO BE DORMANT
Joe, even as a small boy insisted on being himself. He got in trouble at school for carving ‘I am me’ into his desk. Some people have a clear sense of identity – as they should. You are not meant to be someone else or even a diluted version of everyone else.
Being a quiet/passive person is not always commendable. If you stand for something it is because you are something. Not something and nothing.
LIFE IN THE STEW
Some people are comfortable accommodating themselves to the stew of common norms. It’s not difficult to be a piece of alphabet in a stew. Others have a craven attitude to authority. These are the people driven to attribute unwarranted sacredness to religion and the veneration of their ideas and their denomination. But they are looking for identity in the wrong place and as a result never get to be themselves. Misguided reverence can drain us of a real identity and genuine agency because it’s a form of idolatry in which we become less than we are by worshiping ourselves.
THE LIGHT WALKING IN YOU
Who we are can depend on whether we are disciples of a myth or disciples of Christ. ‘Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom’ Ps 51.6 NIV.
Even Jesus does not make us a clone of Himself. Oneness with Him makes us who we are as persons and sons of God. The Son of God poured out Himself so that we can be who we are as humans and sons/daughters.
We may agonize over attitudes to self and others than are negative and crippling. But some of what we see as flaws are the distortion that sin makes of everything inherently good. By living in Christ instead of the dualism of the tree of deceit, the entire self can be brought into the sovereignty of Christ where oneness with Him makes us who we are as sons and daughters of God.
WHOLE, HOLY AND YOU
Authentic holiness and a fulsome life is ours in union with God. The incarnation means that He and we are one. We are not swallowed by God but made more ourselves. It’s called perichoresis.
Myk Habets paraphrasing Torrance writes, “In the incarnation the eternal Son of God assumes fallen human nature and redeems it thus restoring and fulfilling the divine telos for humanity of union and communion with God (theosis).
With Athanasius, Torrance speaks of Jesus as ‘the Dominical Man’ and ‘the principle of ways’ which God has provided for us. By this he means that the incarnate Christ has an archetypal significance for human beings. He even suggests that: ‘every human being is ontologically bound to him. It is in Jesus Christ the incarnate Creator, then, that the being of all men, whether they believe or not, is creatively grounded and is unceasingly sustained. The chief end and true felicity of humanity involves, according to Torrance, knowledge of oneself as a creature utterly dependent on the grace of God.” (1)
TREE OF SELF-EFFORT
We can manufacture a persona by considered effort. We may become a person that we know as ourselves – even though this construct is out of alignment with our being in the spirit of sonship.
We are who we are as the expression of Jesus Christ. We become ourselves – which is growing from glory to glory in true holiness. Real holiness is to be who you are as a son daughter. Religious holiness ties us to the triviality of religious motions for their own sake, sin management and with some a pious religiosity that is despised by lovers of life who are repelled by law-mongering and effete pieties.
TRAVESTIES OF LIFE
Unfortunately religiosity has often been a fellow traveller of religious conservativism and obstinate resistance to change. This leads to the equation of deadness with holiness and stuffiness with pleasing God. Jesus’ problem, if we could use a figure of speech, was that He was TOO ALIVE for the religious establishment.
Any visit to the zoo or a stint of skin diving will reveal that God is not nearly as dull or as dead as some who take His name. Jesus is not boring, but Christians often are. But there is nothing dormant about those for whom Christ is their life.
(1) Myk Habets, Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance, p 34.