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March 22, 2007



As much as I agreed with the gist of this post (I don't do "shoulds"), I
am unsure on your approach to that point. It seems to me that one of the
most helpful pastoral-theological trends of recent years has been the
discovery that 'sanctification' is not about doing less and less bad
things, but about becomming more and more human. This takes place as an
individual experience of the liberation of Creation from the bondage to

I wouldn't want to lose this, but I don't know if your post risks doing so.


I don't know what "becoming more and more human" means, Graham.

To take your next sentence where you speak of moving from decay to life, now that seems a powerful idea but nothing to do with "becoming more and more human"

I'll accept the idea of life and more of it as a goal of our learning. So, the question becomes what can we do now to give widen our possibilities?

What doesn't widen our possibilites is being told or seeking out a ONE authentic, real us.

Why is that? Well,the only way that we can construct an idea of a real, authentic us is through the language and concepts of self that we work with in our day to day language (Hence, ideas of self are very different in regions of the world to the south and east of England). We construct a sence of what an authentic, real, perhaps free self is like from the 'language tools' that we are given. We are not free at all in constructing ideas of authentic selves. The very idea that there might be ONE authentic self is, in itself, oppressive.


It's difficult for me to unpack what 'becoming more human' means. (I
pretend that's because of space restraints, rather than my own cluttered
mind!) Having said that, I would want to object that speaking of moving
from decay to life has everything to do with it (even if both concepts
are tightly-packed and poorly-explained, theologically). At essence, I'd
say that it involves recognising that we are a part of Creation and as
such are not yet where we will be, because of the need to grow into
something, or because of a 'fall'; either works, I guess.

The human element in that would relate, I believe, to the image of God.
We were created in their image, to be, enjoy and express the fulness of
God. Having 'lost' (or not yet attained) some of that, we are
not just less holy, we are less whole. Our identity as humans consists
of the image of God, which I take to mean the inner-trinitarian
self-giving, other-focussed, perichoretic love.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to read me equate this with peace! To
live in shalom with one another and the rest of Creation - and therefore
with God - is what we have been created for, and is what it is to be
fully Human. I couldn't cheapen this with the language of obligation and
more than I could say that a fish jolly well should live underwater!
Such language is a category mistake. It's not that a fish ought
live underwater; it is more of case of a fish being an
underwater creature.

Damn, I can waffle with the best of them! ;)


"Perichoretic love"?!!? Don't you dare ever accuse me of complicated writing, Graham Old!! :-)

Ok, I see your point about becoming more human but if we are to grow into the image of an infinite God....? I suspect that we're not millions of miles apart on this, just somewhat different language. Having said that, I guess that I approach this from the point of view of learning rather than theological correctness or subtlety. And, for me, starting from where we are now; I want to stress that our learning it a process of adding to, widening, offering more.

You see as soon as you start defining an end point to our learning, for example "becoming more human"... some wretched (even if greatly loved) theologian starts to define and put boundaries around the end point of learning. So, for example, one theologically inclined friend of mine starts to define "becoming more human' in terms of peacemaking, shalom.

Now, how can I argue with that? Except that it could be far more, and that the journey might not be peaceful. Jesus didn't promise a peaceful life, indeed he warned of division and difference. No to tie too close a link between "becoming more human" and peace is to restrict the infinite possibilities of growing in Christ in an unhelpful way.

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