4The picture above shows the lower half of part of my nuclear family, walking through a perfectly preserved city, that was once very important to a long-dead culture. The photo was taken by me on my second-hand iPhone, on a holiday earlier in 2016.

 

The paragraph above tells you quite a lot about my concerns, interests, and passions, but doesn’t mention Jesus and is arguably not very theological.

 

I’m convinced that at the root of a lot of the problems in this world is ultimately a misunderstanding of what it means to be human.

 

I’m convinced that the ultimate root of all the problems in this world is what Christian theology has long called, in light of the Bible and the Man whom Scripture is all about, Sin. And I believe that the solution to that is found in Jesus Christ, savior of the world, the one I and millions of others recognise as King. For a long time, though, I held that as an abstract fact – which, conceptually, is anathema to the intimate grubbiness of the Incarnation. I’ve been lucky to read and listen widely, and the thing that resonated most with me came from a rather unlikely place.

Jesus Christ is the paradigm case of the Truly Human

Anthony Thiselton is an Anglican Theologian, who I was privileged to learn from for a 3rd Year Systematic Theology module (the last undergraduate module he taught before retirement) and who has published widely in Systematic Theology, Ethics, Philosophy and New Testament disciplines, to name but a few of the areas.

What it means to be human is something that has occupied some of the greatest minds throughout human history. I don’t claim to add my voice or thoughts to that in any meaningful way, but I do think our understanding of what it means to be human should be shaped by our understanding of Jesus, God.

I sometimes introduce myself in polite contexts, or in an attempt to explain my theological interests, by saying that I am awkward because I like talking about the things that it isn’t polite to mention. Justice, sexuality, disability, poverty, healing, brokenness, health, death and so on. These are things that are integral and yet incidental to being human, in my view. These are things that I’ve had to ponder as I’ve wondered and ruminated around what it might mean to be Human, Being Human, and be becoming human.

This blog is very much consumed with this question, though, so do check out the relevant category, and if that piques your interest then the following academic papers that I’ve written and presented may be worth your reading time. The links below are not the titles of the papers, but articulate something of the point of them:

Having relationships and being bodies – is that being human?

What does being human have to do with gender relations?

Being Human, in relationship, throughout time: The Kingdom of God

Preaching and Social Media – what can Being Human tell us?

I hope some of these are useful to you.

Other papers, on related topics, can be found on my academia.edu profile.