What it means to be “human” / Reflections on the film, 2012

What it means to be “human” / Reflections on the film, 2012

The film 2012 offers some insightful dialogue and illustration on what it means to be a human being.  Moreover, my wife and I saw the film a few days ago and found it most entertaining, though the action sequences were often farfetched to the point of hysterics.  But again, there are some very insightful themes running through the film which I find that as a Christian, are especially relevant for my Christian brothers and sisters.

Note that while the film does not necessarily convey a Christian perspective towards history, I believe as I have inferred at the onset, that the film convey insights on how we ought to carry ourselves in moments of crises, let alone in the normal events of life for that matter. I thus hope that many Christians, as well as non-Christians, will watch this film in order to reflect on two themes I saw emerging through its plot, both of which I find highly relevant to the age we live in.

 

An apocalyptic parable on true humanity

Before I introduce these two themes, I should offer a few comments concerning the film’s apocalyptic genre and story line.  We can most benefit from the film by interpreting it as simply a parable— though a parable unfolding through a rather unimaginable and horrifying event concerning a cataclysmic reconfiguration of the earth’s crust, which results in the near extinction of human life.

To call the story a parable is to stress how the film depicts an imaginary event yet uses that event to convey, even if quite unintentionally, some very relevant lessons for real life.  When we do that, (and again, I am speaking here to my fellow Christians), then there is really no need to focus so much on dismissing the film’s value because of its apocalyptic premise derived from the Mayan Calendar, which presumably concludes that the world may end in the year 2012.

As a further qualification, it is also important to note that in the film, the world does not actually end.  The world does undergo a horrific cataclysm created by earth’s crust becoming for a moment in history, unstable.  This in turn results in a shifting of the continents and of the north and south poles, and further results in several cataclysmic and global-reaching tsunamis that reach all the way up to Mount Everest.  These tsunamis thus destroy most of the earth’s inhabitants, but in the end, a remnant of the human race survives.  Moreover, the floodwaters apparently recede, thus marking a new beginning in human history.  Hence, the story line roughly echoes the biblical story of Noah and the flood.

Now again, while this scenario may not wholly fall within the images of biblical apocalypticism, I do not find its portrayal of a cataclysmic upheaval capable of seriously threatening life on earth, as wholly impossible.  For I believe there is sufficient warrant to surmise that are a number of very possible scenarios also involving the most unmanageable, horrific and cataclysmic destruction which can very well erupt upon the earth and at any moment in human history.  We should also keep in mind that for most of history, the human race consisted of less than 200 million people around the globe.  Then during the Middle Ages, the Bubonic Plague had in fact wiped out millions of people in Europe and I believe in Northern and Central Asia.

With this mind, the film actually thus becomes deeply relevant to our postmodern age. This is because today we in fact do live in the face of very real and looming apocalyptic threats to our entire earthy existence.  This reality thus largely defines the setting that we commonly call the postmodern setting.  Postmodernity means to some extent that we have come to realise that there are definitive limitations to what extent modern science and human knowledge can insure our continued survival as a species upon the earth.  Modernity preached self-reliance and human ingenuity; it preached the message of self-interest at all costs.  However, if now live in an age marked by a deep sense of pessimism towards the future, our pessimism largely stems from realising that in ourselves, we can no longer be certain of anything concerning our future.

We should however also note that there is a more positive element to the postmodern situation.  This element is that we have come to recognise that the way forward may come, not from the things we have traditionally trusted in, but rather from the most unlikely places and people.  Hence, we should therefore be open to marginalised voices; voices that the majority or the most powerful, or most affluent, have too often marginalised for purposes beneficial to their own security.  So with reference to the film 2012, by the time the film ends, the future of humanity becomes located— in the continent of Africa.

As a Christian, I believe the Lord is coming to unite heaven and earth, which will bring about a full renewal of this world, resulting in its complete transformation into a new creation under His complete reign.  Yet I am aware that things can potentially become far worse for humanity before they get any better.  I have come to realise that if things do get far worse— and I believe they may well in fact eventually get far worse, even to the point of a global-reaching, cataclysmic and utterly complete ecological and financial breakdown, what we may find ourselves suffering under, are the consequences of our own human follies.

Yet in the event of such a possible scenario within human history, and within the possible history that all of us can very well enter into, I want to stress that we as Christians will be called upon to live a life that is counter to the ways of the world.  That will be a counter-culture way of life that is wholly expressed through an ethic fully manifesting the charity of Christ, hope is His soon coming, and certainty in the coming establishment of His kingdom upon the earth, which will culminate in the complete union of heaven and earth through the full coming of His kingdom; the kingdom of God.

 

The true nature of true humanity

Now I will introduce the two themes that I found so vividly illustrated in the film 2012, which together I believe reveal the true nature of true humanity.  This true nature of true humanity is therefore our true destiny and calling as human beings upon the face of the earth, both in this age and in the age to come.

The first theme we can discern in the film 2012 is this: The film provides us an epic yet also horrifyingly apocalyptic parable on, what it means to be a human being.  This theme first emerges early in the film when upon discovering the potentially impending doom facing humanity, two individuals reflect on how we might carry ourselves in a moment of life-threatening crisis.

More specifically, the film calls to imagine a moment of life-threatening crisis, where the crisis gives us a choice to act and can only act upon only one of two possible choices: the choice to save either our life— or the life of another human being.  Even more specifically, this is the moment of life-threatening crisis, when the crisis confronts a person with the choice to either save only one’s self or rather, to selflessly act without regard for ones own safety, if in doing so, one can possibly save a number of other human lives from certain doom.

 

In the moment of truth, how will we live?

As the movie 2012 moves towards its end, one of the two individuals, who at the beginning of the film engaged in the moral discussion that I just presented, comes face to face with a moment of truth.  It is a moment we all may at some point in the course of life encounter, where that moment asks us, “In this moment of truth, how will you live?”

What happens in the film is that a scenario develops which reminds me of that old humanistic “life boat” case study involving seven people lost at sea but with a lifeboat made for only five people.  The case study thus calls us to decide which five out of the seven people, should we allow into the lifeboat that is presumably capable of holding no more than five people.  The case study thus forces us to ask ourselves, which two people should we throw over board?  Since the boat has space for only five people, which two people should we together elect to leave behind? Who should live and who should die?

The “lifeboat” case study is one image that implicitly shapes the film’s story line, but so also does the biblical story of Noah’s arc and the flooding of the earth.  Therefore, as the movie reaches its climax, several mammoth “life-boats” are revealed, which had been built in preparation for the global flooding, each capable of saving perhaps hundreds of thousands of people from the floodwaters.  After the selected populations board the boats, there are however still thousands of others desperately seeking to board the ships.

But in midst of the ensuing tension, and hours before the tsunamis impact the ships, one of the chief architects of these mammoth lifeboats, fears that the ships cannot contain those remaining thousands waiting to board.  Therefore, in the moment of truth, this individual, fearful that the ships may not sustain everyone, seeks to close the gates from the masses still hoping to board the boats.

This individual reasons that only by closing the gates to the many still outside the boats, can the human race be preserved from compete destruction.  Note then that this individual has a grand vision, which he passionately believes in, and it is a vision for the preservation of the human race.  He then reasons that if preserving the human race involves making tough decisions as to who we should save and who we should not save, then let us made that decision, and let us limit the number of passengers into the lifeboats.

Yet then there is another man who also faces this moment of truth.  He is that man who earlier pondered, how shall we act in the true moment of truth?  How then shall we live?  How will we act in that moment where we might be called upon to selflessly act without regard for our own safety, if in doing so, we might possibly save the lives of countless other individuals besides our self?

That man speaks up and says, “What is the point of saving our self, if we think that in doing so we are preserving the human race, yet also in doing so, we are in fact acting less than human?”

That man then further argues, “What does it mean to be human?”  He continues by pleading what he believe is the nature of a true human society and culture.  He thus asks, “How can we even start a new society, a new culture, if our foundation consists of behaviours that are less than human?  How can we rebuild a truly human culture, if our founding actions involve no sense of costly yet selfless altruism, even to the extent of our laying down our lives for one another?”

That individual then concludes and challenges those already on the boat that we must take the risk of jeopardising all our lives, if in doing so— we might successfully save every other life from destruction.  Ultimately, we must do so for this reason: it is only in doing so, that we can live a life that is truly human.  If we cannot do so, we are in reality, living less than a human life.

 

True and false civility

Some years ago, the famous psychiatrist, Dr Scot Peck, wrote a book titled, A World Waiting to Be Born: The Search for Civility.  Peck begins his first chapter titled, “Something is Seriously Wrong,” by noting too many people, think of “civility” as simply being polite and observing proper etiquette.  Peck calls this assumption not only superficial but also horribly wrong.  For this reason Peck goes on to say that too often in our varied life settings, especially in the larger and formal organisation structures in which we work, we carry ourselves towards one another according to the secular techniques of manipulation and personal self interest.  As a result, Peck says, we fail to manifest “the glory of what it means to be human.”

Elsewhere in Peck’s book, he demonstrates how a common organisational culture that is trapped in this secular idea of polite civility, is illustrated when an organisation’s presumed identity is one of, “We’re the best in the business,” and its motto is thus “Quality at all costs.”

In contrast to this idea of civility as nothing more than politeness and following proper decorum, Peck therefore stresses that true “civility” refers to seeking the best interest of all people, regardless of the cost to one’s self.  Within this same discussion, Peck then draws attention to the biblical story of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man, who was unwilling to part with his wealth.  Peck suggests that the story functions as a parable for all of us, and every time when we read the story or reflect on the story.

The point of the story about the rich young man who is unwilling to part with his wealth, is not that following Jesus means that Jesus wants you to necessarily let go of everything you possess and live in voluntary poverty in order that you may follow him.  Although, I would say for many of us, that may not be a bad idea!  But no.  The moral of the story is that Jesus oftentimes will come to us and ask us the question, “What are you really trusting in?  Where is your security, right now, in this moment?”

Jesus will ask us these questions because if our security is indeed in the things we possess, then how are we going to carry our self as a human being, when the moment of truth calls upon us to express our humanity?

Within this discussion, the mental psychiatrist Peck throws throw at us this observation: “Security can become an addiction, and there are many for whom enough is never enough.”  Peck goes on to say that his work in psychiatric care has convinced him that having wealth never fully satisfies the aching feeling of insecurity.  All their lives, the rich often find themselves caught up therefore, in an insatiable quest to heal this ache through the continued accumulation of wealth.

Peck notes that past statistics demonstrate that within the American setting, the wealthiest segments of the American population give away to charity a much smaller proportion of their income that do middle or working class people.  Hence, their proportional giving reveals “a telling commentary on the spiritual impoverishment of most who are financially rich.”  For similar reasons, another notable psychiatrist, Erich Fromm, realised from sheer experience in the profession of mental care, that, “The essential difference between the unhappy, neurotic type person and him of great joy is the difference between get and give.”

A truly human life therefore, is a life lived in utter selflessness towards other human beings.  A true human life is always lived in the presence of one another, and for the presence and existence of one another.  A true human life can only be lived in selfless action to one another.  This is the mark of true humanity.  Anything less, is less than human.  Anything less is to live not as a human being but to live like an animal.  This discussion thus clarifies what we should mean by the term secular humanism.

Real Christianity infers a true and biblical humanism. Christian humanism is a humanism that encourages and celebrates the true nature of true humanity.  It is founded upon a moral centre, because it is furthermore, founded upon a Person— who is the True Human.  Secular humanism however, is a humanism without the true moral centre, and thus no real moral centre.  It has no moral centre because it encourages and celebrates living only for one’s self without regard for others.  It encourages and celebrates living for one’s self especially when the well-being of your life is any way dependant upon the loss, deprivation or disregard for the best interest of another human being.

For the most part, the world we live in, in spite of its increasing nuance towards spirituality, operates by values reflecting not a true humanism but a secular humanism that really does enthrones “self” at the centre of all things.  That is why even Christian bookstores are filled with books with titles such as “How to Become a Better You,” or “How to Be all You are Meant to Be,” or, “How to Receive all You’re Supposed to Have!”  At the root of all these pseudo-Christian books is not the paradigm of true humanity but the subhuman paradigm of self-interest.  So deep is this false humanistic in the cultures that we live, that much of the current talk within Christian circles of becoming relevant to the day we live in, or of transforming the culture around us, is really quite ludicrous.

The forces that have constructed the macro economic systems of our world, the security systems and social systems we now live within through the processes of globalisation, have constructed these systems upon premises that seek the best interests of the few without concern for the many.  The proverbial lifeboat of the film 2012 is therefore indeed a proverbial analogy of our present world order.

Many of us are right now enjoying the privileges of life on a “boat,” to which untold millions are currently barred entry into, and thus face the prospect of becoming the first causalities of whatever repercussions may erupt upon the earth because of our follies.  Moreover, added to these follies is the folly resulting from keeping our eyes closed to the many.  We close our eyes to their existence, though one day we may painfully discover that all people are indeed interdependent.  When that day comes, we may then truly learn that “No man is an island,” for the same forces that have united much of the world together in economic affluence, has united that much of the world to frustrations of the greater numbers of people who lack access to our prosperity.

 

 

Self-denial, charity, sacrifice, and healing the world

This discussion illustrates how nothing less than a complete, radical and revolutionary subversion and undermining of the entire world order, can bring healing to the world.  If a Christian truly believes that he or she lives as salt and light in the world, then he or she must also see their role as a prophetic presence in the world.  This is a prophetic presence that consistently demonstrates values that are visibly counter to the values of the world, and at the same time positively point to a world that is waiting to be born.  The good news is that to fulfill this prophetic role in the world, one need only mature and thus behave as a human being— a true human being.

 

To fulfill this prophetic function of living a truly human life we must however confront a common though false presumption concerning the purpose of Christian life, and about the purpose of Jesus’ life, sufferings on the cross and resurrection from the dead.  This is the misunderstanding that the ultimate purpose of Jesus’ atonement, was to insure our eternal salvation and hence, that we get to go to heaven when we die.  Now to be sure, the securing of our eternal destiny is central to why Jesus came to live and die upon the earth.  It is central because it is we and not angels whom God has created as His image-bearers— It we whom He loves as His children, and it is we who are made to reflect His likeness.

 

But in itself, this assumption is only a half-truth, and in itself, it makes for a very “self-centred” gospel.  It is the message of a gospel that men have not centred in the glory of God but rather in the glory of man apart from God.  Rick Warren therefore had it right when he titled the first chapter of his book titled, The Purpose Driven Life; with the title, “It all Starts with God.”  In that chapter, he moreover and rightly began the first sentence by saying, “It is not about you.”  Warren’s proposition illustrates how the primary purpose of Jesus’ atonement was far bigger than the redemption of humankind.  For even greater than to secure the redemption of humanity, is the greater purpose for which Jesus died for.  That greater purpose was to secure the glory of God.

 

Within the greater purpose of securing the glory of God, is that Jesus dies to reconcile all things— all things both heaven and earth, to Himself.  Jesus suffered and rose again that He might restore all things back together under His rightful reign.  So the Scripture says, “For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”  To this end, the entire purpose of God is to restore our humanity, that we might live as true human beings.  Moreover, the healing of the world involves our becoming more human; thus our becoming more humane.  To this end, God is at work to restore our humanity.

 

If we want to therefore carry our self in the world as a true human being— if we want to carry our self in a manner that is truly civil, we will never do so by calling attention to what we possess.  We can only show our true humanity through denying our self; and hence, by how easy it is for us to give it all away.  It is for this reason that in his Institutes of Religion, John Calvin devotes Book III to the Christian Life, and in chapter four, he summarises all of Christian life by this one phrase:  “self denial.”

By using that one phrase, “self denial,” as the most succulent description of a truly Christian lifestyle, Calvin chose to stick within a long tradition and a principle within that tradition, which every other leader of the Protestant Reformation also affirmed.  That is a tradition that thus remained connected to the best of Roman Catholic spirituality as illustrated in earlier works such as The Imitation of Christ and The Rule of St Benedict.

The tradition of self denial, which is in fact the true call of Jesus and the only call He gives any of us, when He calls us to Himself, is a tradition that stresses a central image of true humanity, which goes all the way back to the why the Gospels are in the Bible.  It is a tradition that rightly recognises that the Gospels are not provided for our intellectual assent to Jesus’ historical life, but rather foremost to grant us the one true guide on how we should live as human beings.

The Gospels are written to show us how to live— to actually imitate the life of Jesus.  That is why Jesus says, “Deny your self, and follow me.”  Moreover, God has made to some extent, the healing of the world dependent on weather or not we choose to follow Jesus.  For only in following Him can we begin truly living like human beings.

Within this context, we should thus realise that self denial is not something based on ideas of having to live with a “poverty mindset” or deny the very real and material nature of God’s blessings.  But rather, self denial is simply based on a true knowledge and comprehension of what it means to truly live like a human being.  When that knowledge is received, self denial becomes an act of calling and joyful vocation.  We begin joyfully denying our self because we have come to know that only here are living according to our high calling as real people upon the earth.  But to do that, requires our reception of a special kind of joy, and it is a joy that is freely received from the One who is humanity par excellence.

 

Jesus is humanity par excellence

I submit to you that there was a man who was truly human and remains the True Human, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the one who laid down his life for His friends.  He is the one who put Himself in harm’s way and suffered harm’s way for the preservation of the entire human race.  He did so because in doing so, he truly behaved and acted as a true human.  He acted as true as a human life can ever be.

Christians rightly confess and know Jesus as the image of God.  Even more so, we have come to know He is God in the flesh.  In Him, we see God, and by his behaviour, we see and know the true personality of God.  Yet I will here also remind us that in Jesus we see true humanity.  In Him we see what human life is designed to be.

This confession that Jesus is not only truly God but truly human, is true because after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus did not stop being human.  After he rose from the dead, He remained human.  This is why He rose from the dead with an indestructible though fully physical and material body.  Even now at this moment, Jesus reigns in heaven through His very real and physically material body.  Moreover, there will come a day when He will appear and like Thomas, we will see the nail scars in His hands.

The entire weight of these reflections rest upon a cardinal doctrine, which if we in any way undermine, we therein commit heresy concerning the person of Jesus.  This doctrine we must confess in order to lift up the name of Jesus over all things, is that He is truly God and He is truly human.  As the ancient creeds effectively established the concluding synthesis of the biblical story of Jesus’ coming, death and resurrection, Jesus is and will always be truly God and truly human.  In Him we see two distinct natures, the divine and human, clearly distinguishable, yet wholly different; undivided, yet inseparable.  He is and will always be, truly God and truly Human.

If we are to therefore truly worship Him as God, and if we are to preach Him fully lifted up in all His saving glory, we must also confess Him and preach Him in all His true Humanity.  For in Him we therefore also see who were born to be, if we are ever to become truly human.  He dies to restore our humanity.  When He lives in us, He works in us to restore our humanity, by setting us on a path of human restoration.

In Jesus Christ we see not only the potential of true human life, but even more so, a vision for a true human society and human culture.  We therefore also see a vision for a new humanity upon the face of the earth.  That is why the Scripture says that Jesus is the beginning of a new humanity.  He is the First Man of a new humanity.  He is therefore the true paradigm for a true human life and human existence.

When we look at Jesus, we therefore see what were born to be.  We were born to be like Jesus.  This is God’s true purpose for all human life; to become like Jesus.  This is why the ancients said, “God became man, so that man might become something like God.”  This again is why if we want to know what God is like, we should look at Jesus, for He is not only the true man, but in Him, we see who God is.  For God is love, and love acts without regard for one’s self but wholly for the sake of those outside our self.  For this reason, God created humankind in His image that we might reflect the likeness of God in how we live.  This is our true human calling.

The process of becoming human is the process of becoming like Jesus.  So complete is the process that He works upon us both from the inside and from the outside.  There is no antithesis between the two processes.  On one hand, he works within us, transforming us from the inside out.  On the other hand, He works outside us, presenting Himself to us as our Teacher and ourselves to Him as disciples called to follow Him.  Through both ways, the goal is the same: that we might live as human beings.  When that happens, we realise that self-denial is indeed not a method towards Christ-likeness, but rather simply the fruit of becoming human, and thus, of becoming like Christ.

 

Servant-leadership and the vocation of true humanity

In bringing these reflections to a closure, I will now draw attention to the second theme I find so poignantly illustrated in the film 2012; this is theme of true leadership.  Moreover, this theme of true leadership is what Jesus argued as, servant-leadership.

 

In the movie 2012, one of the chief architects of those mammoth lifeboats was something of what we might call, a visionary leader.  He had a grand vision and it was a vision for the preservation of the human race.  To some extent, we may argue that this man possessed a noble vision.  He believed his vision was for the greater good of humanity.

 

This man was also a practical leader.  He was a pragmatic leader as well, because He well knew that to be most effective and efficient, he had to make practical choices that may involve refraining from higher moral ideals.  Hence, he chose not to jeopardise the lives of the few by opening the boat to the many.

This man therefore chose to insure the security of the boat and the few in the boat, by choosing not to risk the security of the boat by opening the boat to so many others hoping to step into the security of the boat.  So in all these presumptions, we have a picture of practical, pragmatic and sometimes of visionary leadership.  But in view of the true humanity of Jesus, this is a way of leadership that is nonetheless, subhuman.

Yet the other man, who I want to say was the true leader, argued that preservation of the human race is still not possible unless we seek to preserve the human race through and upon the high moral foundation of self-denial.  As earlier mentioned, this man who was the true leader, argued that a new world that is truly human cannot be rightly established unless such a world is founded upon actions involving genuine risks through the giving of our lives for one another.

This man who was the true leader, therefore sought to persuade those in the boat to risk their own secure future by taking the wild risk of opening the boat to all those outside the boat.  He called upon everyone in the boat to do so, even if in doing so, the boat might sink in the process of getting everyone into the boat.  He argued that failure to do that is to behave not as humans but as animals.  He therefore understood that true leadership is not about putting one’s personal interest before others, but about putting the interest of others before one’s own interest.  He understood that true leadership is always the laying down of our life for the common good.  He understood that true leadership is servant-leadership.

Jesus is not only the True Man but he is the true leader of the human race.  Jesus said that the rulers of this age love to be lord over others, but that is not true leadership.  True leadership is serving others.  Serving always has its penultimate and highest expression in the laying down of our life for one another.  That is what Jesus taught and it is what he modeled— not only to secure our redemption into restored humanity, but to grant us an example of true humanity.  He did this in the expectation that we would actually emulate as an act of our will, having had our will empowered by the Spirit of Christ who lives within us.

Jesus did not just give His life for us, but He modeled to us what it means to be a true human and how to live like a true human being.  It is not enough to even say, “I’ll let Jesus live through me.”  It is important to know that Jesus lives in you and that is where it all begins.  Then when He begins to live in you, you will always face choices every day, where circumstance call upon you to behave like Jesus.  That comes through an act of your will and obedience to His Word.  You can choose to disobey the Lord, even as a Christian.  For this reason, many Christians know the Lord, but actually disobey Him.  Such Christians the Bible calls, fleshy Christians; Christian who remain like spiritual babies.  However, there are times when we all disobey the Lord.  So you must choose to follow Jesus, observe how He lives, and starting acting like Him.  If you do, He will guide your steps and place your feet into His footsteps.

I have digressed here, but I am talking about servant leadership.  True leadership begins with laying down our life for others.  Any aspiration that begins with the preservation of one’s self is not true leadership.  That is a kind of leadership founded something less than a truly human life.

Some months ago, I was engaged in a discussion with a group about the nature of leadership.  In that discussion, someone suggested that there are many kinds of leadership, one of which is the idea of servant leadership, and another is what we might call visionary leadership, and that they are not the same.

Let me point out that for a Christian, there is only one valid kind of leadership, and that is servant leadership.  Any other kind of leadership model or style that fails to recognize Jesus’ model of servant leadership as the foundation, is a subhuman form of leadership.  In a truly biblical worldview, Jesus’ pattern of servant leadership and the concept of visionary leadership are not antithetical styles, but they are the same.  Having a vision for a world founded upon true justice where God’s righteousness and peace prevails requires nothing less than a great people who have discovered their true vocation as servant leaders.

Sometimes in life, there is a moment of truth, which will call on us to choose either the way of self-preservation or the way of self denial.  In the moment of truth, how will we live?  How will we live in the moment of truth, when Jesus comes to us and says let it all go?  How will we live in the moment of truth, when Jesus says let it all go and follow me?  How will live in the moment of truth, when in that moment we are called upon to either act without regard for our own security or even safety , if in doing so, we might secure the life and posterity of other individuals besides our self?

But the truth is that in an infinite number of small and unknown ways, the moment virtually always comes to us every day of our life.  Abraham was able to offer up Issac on Mount Moriah because his whole life revealed a pattern of hearing and responding to God’s call every day of his life.  Every day God calls us and every day we are given a choice to either obey or disobey the Word of God.  Make no mistake about it:  the New Testament does not shrink from describing Christian life according to the language of obedience and disobedience.  “Today, if you Hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”  And a moment of truth will come when you are also called up to the top of Mount Moriah.  And there maybe even several times or more when He will call you up to the top of Mount Moriah, and offer your life a living sacrifice.

The healing of both our selves and those, whom we might need to lay down our life for, will come through the way of self-denial.  So part of the good news is that our own healing— the healing of our soul, is found through simply living like a true human being.  The healing of our soul and the healing of the world, is only found through losing our selves in the saving of those not on the boat, but who also long for a new world waiting to be born.

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