Thursday, November 27, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today: choose one or both.

What are you thankful for?

Do you think that low self-esteem and poor self-identity seem all too prominent in Christians and if so, why?


Susan Barnes said...

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Switzerland? We don't in Australia. However I'm thankful. I love the words in this song which express so well how I feel:

You did not wait for me to draw near to You
But You clothed yourself in frail humanity
You did not wait for me to cry out to you
But You let me hear your voice calling me
And I’m forever grateful.

Also Christians with low self-esteem and poor self-identity, are very prominent. I'm not sure why. Is it that the way we present the gospel that only attracts these people or that they don't really understand what God has done for them or is it that everyone suffers from low self-esteem but it is not quite so obvious in non-Christians? I really don't know.

Anonymous said...

maybe because the gospel itself just is written for the weak and poor and broken people ...

harry coe maynard said...


Well for one thing the Charlie Brown Christmas I posted from Youtube was removed and replaced by a voiceover of some of the vialist language you could hear. Hurt

When Charles Schultz was having Lionus tell the Christmas Story from Luke, his editors said you can't do that, on National TV. He said If we don't WHo will?

Anonymous said...

I am thankful
- for music because it is so fascinating and beautiful
- that I can listen to music all day, that I have the technical tools I need
- for my guitar
- for peace in my country
- for education (I can become a theologian, a philosopher, a teacher, many Christians all over the world cannot)
- to have hope in Jesus Christ
- for my siblings
- for my parents that I love more and more
- to never be thirsty or hungry
- to know that my family and most of the people I love are safe
- to know Labri

Greg said...

Thanks for this comment and thoughts. No, Switzerland does not do Thanksgiving, but nevertheless we too are thankful to God for much.

Christian low self esteem and poor self identity are somewhat of an enigma. As you, I too think they are prominent defeaters for various reasons, two of which I'll mention here. Part of the problem lies in misunderstanding Christian spirituality and another part in misunderstanding selfhood and being human. Our presentation of the gospel must be such that it is attractive to all people.

Greg said...

Thanks for your words. True, the gospel is written for those who recognize their need. But the things that you mention don't, at least for me, translate into low self esteem and poor self identity.

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Yes, who will if we don't.

Greg said...

Wonderful to read some of what you're thankful for. There is so much.

John said...

Greg -
Seems to me that a small worldview gospel, an "All that matters is me and my relationship with Jesus" that is sometimes coupled with a "I'm a dirty rotten sinner" and a small helping of divine "Fire Insurance" leads to low self esteem and poor identity.
I think this is because a poor, or impoverished, understanding of grace and what it means to be a new creation is often not taught. Many "Christians" desire to be so "cross-centered" that they preach and teach salvation, and then stay there. They go no further and never mature in their understanding.

I think that while we should never, ever, ever forget or downplay the importance of the cross, the True Gospel leads to a large worldview and a large picture of who God is.

We need to do better about preaching and practicing grace, and teaching and showing what it means to be a new creation in Christ.

Susan Barnes said...

Seems to me we often talk about Christians not being properly taught but I wonder if perhaps the problem really is that we have a lot of Christians who enjoy being infants (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Taking the view, "I'm a dirty, rotten sinner" easily leds to the view that God won't ask me to do anything or won't expect me to act in faith etc. So it becomes a comfortable excuse not to grow up.

John said...

Susan -
I think both are to blame. Poor teaching, and that results in a poor understanding of the Gospel, and maybe even a lack of a realization that we are called to grow up as believers. What's the verse talking about not giving solid food to someone needing milk? That presupposes that we will move on to solid food.

Greg said...

Thanks. That's a very good way of putting it - "small worldview gospel." In addition to the things you mention do you think a lack of a creational and eschatological perspective also plays a role? If so, this would mean that self esteem and identity aren't attached to enough and need the past and future in order to give a larger world view than the present.

Greg said...

Thanks. Good point. There is a fair amount of immaturity around in Christian circles. No doubt some of this is due to impoverished teaching on spirituality and other important features of the Christian life.

John said...

Greg -

That's exactly what I was referring to by a small worldview gospel. When the Christian life is simply guided by Matthew-John and a few choice verses in Romans, we're in trouble.
We must look bigger, from Genesis-Revelation, realizing, like we always talked about, that the Scripture narrative is one of Creation-Fall-Redemption-Ultimate Redemption, and all parts are necessary and must be held in tension.
We need the creational account so we know where we come from, and who we are as humans (the image of God, something I'm passionate about). We need our state before God as fallen beings so that we do not get prideful in being made in His image. We need redemption to remind us that He is a just and good God and that we are restored into relationship as believers. And we need the hope of future full redemption so that we do not lose hope in this fallen world.

Greg said...

Well put. Thanks.