Why We Are Here

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Simple (math to come)

Created In the “Imago Dei” (image of God, male and female) humanity fell via self-willed rebellion. You can take this as mythological or not, but it is nonetheless utterly true and you can see the results all around you. We rule and it’s an utter mess.

To the extent that humanity as a whole, or we individually, live contrary to reality things get worse; are more and more out of sorts; and we get farther and farther from embodying the simple reasons for life here.

Let’s start with one primary problem. The cosmos is not anthropocentric (human-centered). It is theocentric (God-centered).

Now if you are not a believer then I suppose you are in jam I shall address a bit later (see “suck of self”); but if a believer then it really is time to stop walking around like people, including yourself, are centrifugal points if for no other reason than there can only be one and chances are you are not it.

You have my empathy. I was born with this ridiculous selfishness too, or what novelist Walker Percy has more incisively and richly called the “suck of self”. What it means is that while we bear the image of God in some faint way (like a frame without a photograph) we are really now more like collapsing stars trying desperately to derive meaning, image, relationship…anything to fill the frame prior to it’s inevitable collapse at death. That is the problem of the unbeliever. All of our major pursuits are a response to this: money, possessions, extending our families, power, etc… all of it is what is called the “causi sui” project: “self-creation”. In this we once again show that we bear the faint image of our Creator. But it ends in death. In their scenario we are just fancy worm food with an over-active imagination.

Be that as it may, all of us as we are “self-creating”  are also asking quietly or aloud “is this why I am here?” or “Am I getting it right?”

And the answer is ultimately, “Well, no.” And we suspect this is true all along. It’s why we are so nervous, try so extra hard, and are so terribly driven, anxiety-riddled, fearful or maybe despairing.

Or, if not. We have diverted. We are very good at that as a species. As one author put it “modern people are drinking and drugging themselves out of awareness, or they go shopping, which is the same thing.” (Ernest Becker).

Why You Are Here

Jesus is the “Image of the invisible God” so we finally know what God is like. You are here to become like Jesus who is the living resurrected Imago Dei. You can follow the “math” later from Colossians 1:15-23, but the larger questions of our existence are answered in just the one verse (16) : we were created in Christ, through Christ and for Christ. Later, to the Corinthians, Paul says we are all  part of Christ’s Body which is a living organism and you have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit and callings that will alone give you a sense of fulfillment and life in Christ. In this you live the Imago Dei in Christ.

Why do I feel So Not THere

The “suck of self” is a human problem. That requires daily dying to self. That is culprit number one. Stop living with yourself as the pretended center and you will find immediate relief. Only God is the Center and it was “the Father’s good pleasure for the fullness to dwell in Him” (1:19) and for Him to have “first place in everything” (1:18). It may seem a bit odd, but our Theocentric God wishes us to be “Christocentric” for His own purposes. We would be wise to do so which are seen in the “math” section.

All of our major pursuits are a response to this: money, possessions, extending our families, power, etc… all of it is what is called the “causi sui” project: “self-creation”. In this we once again show that we bear the faint image of our Creator. But it ends in death. In their scenario we are just fancy worm food with an over-active imagination.

I separate the explanation from “the math” because I don’t want anyone running off saying that it is all too complicated or theological. It isn’t.

We need to die to our human-centric worldview first. It’s untenable, dangerous, selfish and frankly dumb.

Second, and this criticism is leveled directly at any church which has chosen to utterly ignore the “Church as Living Body of Christ with many different organs” depiction from scripture. That is there to help you, not constrain you.

As the living Body of Christ we look to our Lord and Master first; then we ask the Spirit about our spiritual gifts and callings because those are what give a primary sense of meaning as the Holy Spirit animates them, not our jobs that earn money no matter how exciting they may be. Just as we don’t live in an anthropocentric universe, so too we do not live in a universe where anything of any lasting meaning comes from these vocations compared (note that) to active serving via our giftings and callings in the Body of Christ.

But I am willing to wager that as you read this you do not yet know what your giftings and callings are in the Body of Christ, and how they work in the living organism that is His Body. Thus you fret. Or maybe you do but have not yet worked it out in your church. This is your mission.

It is not your fault. Somewhere along the way the American churches got away from the organic living idea of both disciple making and the “Body” parts chosen by the Holy Spirit being really good at what they were called to do.

Be tenacious about finding out what spiritual gifts and callings the Holy Spirit has chosen for you and develop those. Exercise those gifts throughout the week as central to your life in Christ and you will be living and experiencing why you are here.

I was born with this ridiculous selfishness too, or what novelist Walker Percy has more incisively and richly called the “suck of self”.

Your universe will be seen in reality (Christocentric) and you will be living and serving as God intended in the Spirit with His gifts in a more meaningful way than you can in any other context.

Note: You are not “earning” anything.  God loves you no more or less. You are simply walking in newness of life, in the redeemed Imago Dei in Christ.

Doing the Math

Math: Created in image of God (male/female) / Fall = death and expulsion from Garden; exclusion from Tree of Life as grace (existence in unrestored state). Created in the Imago Dei but really had no idea what that image was. God is a mystery.

Incarnation =God in the flesh (“No one has seen God at any time, He has revealed Him.” “If you have seen Me, you have Seen the Father”) . The Imago Dei is no longer a mystery . Colossians 1:15-23: Christ is the image of the invisible God (15), preeminent in Creation (15). We were created and patterned in Him (16), through Him (16) and for Him as a consummation point (v.16).  The entire universe holds together at this moment in Him (17) including this article and the Internet. He is the head of the Body, the Church, preeminent in resurrection and has first place in all things (18) because it is the Father’s good pleasure for all of the fullness to dwell in Christ (19) and for all things to be reconciled in Him (20) via His cross whether on Earth or Heaven.

Be tenacious about finding out what spiritual gifts and callings the Holy Spirit has chosen for you and develop those. Exercise those gifts throughout the week as central to your life in Christ and you will be living and experiencing why you are here.

Now there is more, of course, in just those eight small verses of the Bible. But consider that just those eight verses answer all of our deepest existential questions about life, God and the universe.

It is very possible to wake up every morning and know the answer to the largest existential questions of your life (where you came from, who you are in Christ and where you are going); then know practically what your gifts and callings are in the Body of Christ as the single most meaningful thing you can do among so many other meaningful things. You can be conformed to the Imago Dei of Christ which is not some unknown mystery.

These things can happen because they are true and real.

SPOKE is about exploring this Jesus who the Father is pleased for all the fullness to dwell in and for Him to have first place in all things. If we have been lost or confused it is because we have simply missed the obvious.

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