A spiritual person tries less to be godly
than to be deeply human.
Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
In Christian “spirituality”, we often speak of “becoming as Christ”, of striving to be the imago Dei, the image of God. Some mystics even speak of our “becoming Divine”. It’s rich imagery and, I think, useful. But there is one major drawback: it is discouragingly intimidating! How in the World can we fragile, often almost schizophrenic human beings - especially when we become aware of ourselves - aspire to be Godlike? After all, a strong and deep theology tells us that God is completely the Other, a spirit (# 1 of the Thirty-Nine Articles).
Dr. Coffin’s words are a helpful balance. First he reminds us that we are human … this is critical for us to remember in order to be healthy and sound. Then he reminds us that to be as deeply human as possible is to be, paradoxically, godlike. To put it another way, fully divine (God”) and fully human (us) are a kind of parallel. This, I think, lies at the heart of the theological position that Jesus is “fully God and fully Man” … He is an icon of complete being.
So: God is Love; we aspire to Love. God is Faithful; we aspire to Faithfulness. God is Merciful; we aspire to be merciful. The more we seek to be “deeply human”, the more we reflect God. Not the Same … but the Same!
St. Irenaeus of Lyons said, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.
Oh how I long to be so deeply human that people “see God”!