The key to being gracious with yourself and others.
Date Published: 09 / 20 / 2022 |
For I do not understand my own actions.
For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….
I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want
is what I keep on doing.
-Romans 7:15; 19
If you resonate with these verses you are normal. I can’t tell you what a relief it is that this is in scripture. If you know what the Apostle Paul is talking about through experience, you are actually maturing in Christ! Paul is describing “Low Anthropology.”
As you journey with God through the years, you will find your understanding of God and yourself expands and enriches. Every once in a while you will have breakthroughs of depth on things you thought you already understood. That is the case for me with a concept called “Low Anthropology.”
Author David Zahl explains:
“Don’t be put off by the four-dollar word [anthropology]. I’m not talking about graduate-level courses on the customs of aboriginal tribes. Nor am I talking about a chain of boho-chic clothing and décor stores. At base, anthropology simply means what we believe about human nature.
We all go through life with powerful, often unspoken ideas about what human beings are like. For example, we believe that “people can always change” or that “some people can never change.” We believe that “pressure produces results” or that “pressure produces paralysis.” More generally, though, what would we say humans are good at? Not so good at? What principles govern our behavior and make us distinctly human?
Theologians and philosophers call how we answer these questions our anthropology. For our purposes, we can define anthropology as our operative theory of human nature.“
Before understanding this nuanced concept,
much of my understanding about the sinful human condition was rooted in shame, guilt and self-loathing.
This affected my personal walk with God, my ministry and my view of others. But as I began to dive deeper into the concept of God’s grace (His one way love), I also began to understand his compassion for the human condition:
Not just our sins, but also our weaknesses and wounds.
Not just our culpability, but also our helpless condition.
Not just our evils, but also our clumsiness, limits, blind spots, misunderstandings and inability to see and do everything correctly.
Once we start to grasp this we can be gracious with
ourselves and others because we understand that the best of humans are still human at best.
Understanding low anthropology is freeing! It helps you laugh. It causes you to take yourself less seriously. It helps you take God’s grace more seriously. It makes you more compassionate on others. It makes you more merciful with yourself.
As you may know, we all have an opportunity to learn this concept together on October 15th, 5-7pm. David Zahl will be with us to share from his book and do a book signing (books will be available for purchase). There will be one hour of teaching and Q & A and one hour of cocktails and appetizers after.
I am reading the book now and I feel encouraged and relieved with every paragraph, not to mention that he is a great writer with great stories! You will not regret learning from this humble brilliant man who is also a mess like us.
Register for the event here.
Hope to see you there!
Grace and peace,