Monday, September 07, 2009

W is for...

W is for.... WHATEVER!!!!!!!

Sometimes I do not realize how blessed I am to write on whatever I am prompted to discuss. My citizenship affords many freedoms that I know are not present in some parts of the world. This sparked me to thank God for the right to post my opinion... even if I know that it could tick off someone. (Setting aside presidential addresses and public policy for a moment...)

In my Old Testament class this week we had to write a short essay on what it means to be "made in the image of God." We were address specifically the spiritual, moral and physical attributes of humanity, and what it means to respond to those who do not believe in God...

Everything was fine until I suggested that all human beings, even members of Al-Qaeda, are made in the image of God and created for a relationship with God. That many humans choose not to does not make them any less loved or wanted by God. And I noted that because of the effects of sin, we live in broken relationships and skewed realities. In the interests of integrity, this is what I wrote:

Being created in the image of God means that in the totality of our creation, humanity reflects the breadth, power and strength of God. We participate through His Spirit being breathed into us (Gen. 2:7), that same Spirit which was over the waters and midwifed creation. We are not separated from creation but are intertwined in God’s creative work. Physically, humanity is “unlike” all of the animals (Gen.2); spiritually, we are called to preside over God’s creation as his regents and stewards (Gen. 1:28). Ethically, we are challenged to work and preserve God’s creation (Gen. 2:15) and to obey the restrictions God placed on our use of it (Gen. 2:16-17).

Hamilton notes that we are not just an imitation of God, but a “likeness-image,” for we are “not simply representative, but representational, of the invisible God” (Hamilton, p. 27). We were created for work; it is not a penalty for sin, though the thistles and the pain of childbirth certainly are (Gen. 3). Though we are image-bearers of God, Genesis 3 also explains why humanity faces the effects of sin in broken and skewed relationships. But only in our dependence on God can we even begin to show the God we are images of – not of our own initiative (LBH p. 24).

How do we respond to those who do not believe in God? I think it is important to keep God’s frame of reference: all human beings are created in God’s image. All of them are designed for relationship with God, whether they know or desire it or not. Therefore, there is no one, not even a member of Al-Qaeda who is not worthy of hearing the Gospel. That is pretty humbling, considering that we would happily bomb out of existence those who were responsible for 9/11 and act as God’s judge and jury.

How should we respond others in the Body of Christ? By remembering that each of us is also an image-bearer of God, each has been endowed by the Spirit, and called to serve the Body and Christ, we will give each other the value and the honor due one another. We do not limit what the Spirit is gifting someone to do because of age, race or gender. And we accept that we each have a part in bringing about God’s Kingdom. And by doing this, we advance God’s purposes over our own.

I have been thoroughly nuked by a couple of my classmates for daring to suggest that any person, even a terrorist, or someone on death row, (mentioned in a later discussion), is deserving of "grace"... It was suggested that with this being the period immediately before 9/11 that I have somehow cheapened or disgraced the deaths of so many.

I am growing very weary of rhetoric and assumptions of the meanings of words and phrases.

Please take what I say at face value. I'm not running for a political office. I'm not lobbying for anything. I'm writing about what I see as the logical, philosophical end result of seeing all humanity as being image-bearers of God.

Do I fulfill this perfectly? NO. And neither do you...

Quodlibet. WHATEVER.

I continue in my quest of pursuing peace, though there are times that this pursuit is quite tiresome. However, in an attitude of gratitude, I am exceedingly grateful that I can spew off my WHATEVER opinion without fear of persecution or imprisonment.



Mompriest said...

indeed! thankful for, whatever!!

Ruth said...

Wow. I can't believe you were slammed for this very orthodox Christian view.

Deb said...

Bearded Brewer and I had a discussion. He thinks I didn't do enough flag-waving. I think that perhaps people struggle extending grace to those that they find hard to forgive... (I know that I do.)

But yeah - the vehemence kinda surprised me. Save the unborn, but apparently not the born?

go figure...