Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CiRCE Institute Conference: What Is Man?

I attended the CiRCE Institute Conference on "What Is Man?" this past week.  I have walked away with a gem of information. I could narrate at least 6 different facets of information from my perception of that gem. The following is my meager attempt to narrate my perspective from 1 facet of that precious stone I now carry in my mind.

"What is Man?"...This is the chief contemplation we must consider when choosing to be an educator and  embracing an educational philosophy. The only way to truly honor our students is to take a firm stand on who they are as "humans" and embrace a philosophy whereby we can teach them well.

The three states of "man" as I see it:

  1. God Created Man in HIS image: Beautiful
  2. Man has sinned: Fallen
  3. God Redeemed Man in Christ: Glorious

These 3 parts of who we are as "humans" are critical to consider and they are part of MY narration. This facet of my gem of knowledge has been magnified. It was only one part of the conference and keep in mind that my perspective is taken from other elements of my personal life that I have explored and theologies that have influenced my behavior.

I discovered that I have been greatly influenced by a theology that focuses on the "fallen" nature of man. The central theme of this doctrine is that:

  1. We must realize that we are completely fallen and utterly detestable and unable to do anything good. 
  2. We are void of any beauty from the "original" creation; Therefore, rendered handicapped and unable to do any "good" thing.
  3. As "saved" and redeemed men we must pursue holiness and we are obligated to address sin not only in ourselves, but also in those whom we love. 

Over the past decade, this belief has eaten away at my ability to focus on the "beauty" and "glory" that God has put before me. I have turned into a critical wife, mother and sister.

This weekend at the CiRCE conference I was reminded of the miracles of God's creation and the beauty he has made. Even though all of creation suffers from the "fall", that does not negate the "beauty" that He put within each human being and all of creation. If indeed we have nothing good within, then even "unsaved" people would be incapable of doing beautiful deeds. If indeed all of creation has suffered as we have, then fruit trees would not produce fruit. If at the fall, we became 100% wicked and lost our "image bearing" then surely all of creation would have also lost all of its beauty as well and we would have no food to eat and no flowers to smell and all beauty would be gone.

BUT….because beauty and God's image has remained upon all of creation, and as humans we still bear His image, all people are worth loving and respecting.

I am now looking at my husband and my children through a different lense. Instead of thinking it is my "Christian Duty" to "help" them become "Godly" I am looking at them through a lense that makes them BEAUTIFULLY created in the image of God. They are fully humans who are in need of a savior, just as I am. But they are fully humans "made in the image of God" and bearers of the "glory of God" in Christ because they are Christians.

I am saying "Good-bye" to my critical eyes. I am putting on the eyes of Christ that allow me to see beauty and give praise to the glorious humanness of being loved and made in the "image of God". What a beautiful wonder to behold…. a human being!

Recommended books from the conference:


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