Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fully Human

" My chosen vocation . . . [has] remained a subset of a larger vocation, which was the job of loving God and neighbor as myself. Over the years I have come to think of this as the vocation of becoming fully human.

Since some people consider being human a liability, and 'fully'would only make things worse, I should perhaps explain what I mean. To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good. It means growing gentler toward human weakness. It means practicing forgiveness of my and everyone else's hourly failures to live up to divine standards. It means learning to forget myself on a regular basis in order to attend to the other selves in my vicinity. It means living so that 'I'm only human' does not become an excuse for anything. It means receiving the human condition as a blessing and not curse, in all its achingly frail and redemptive reality.

'The glory of God is a human being fully alive,' wrote Irenaeus of Lyons some two thousand years ago. One of the reasons I remain a Christian-in-progress is the peculiar Christian insistence that God is revealed in humankind--not just in human form but also in human being."

---Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World

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