Thursday, October 28, 2010

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:

Does God want us to be nobodies and nothings?


Living Spiritual Rhythms For Today


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Does a nobody/nothing exist?

Greg said...

Thanks. Good question. Some people think or feel this about themselves, or have a view of God that tells them the spiritual way is marked by the need to become nothing and nobody.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

My implication was: Why should God create us, if he did not want us to exist? How could we have any value?

Why should he want us to be this way? Are there any reasons to believe this is what he wants?

Greg said...

Yes, I see your point. Conversely, some would say, God creates us solely to give him worship and praise. God is valuable, not those who worship him. God is against us being arrogant and therefore we must ask him to do everything for us. The more we get out of the way to allow him to do so, the better.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

How would you feel if "nobody" gave you worship and praise? ;-)

Luke 19:40 tells, that the stones would cry, if no one else did. So maybe we should be like crying stones?

For me being "nobody" is as if I was dead. As if I was (already) dust. Dust can not be of any value to anybody. It can not worship or praise. It is not of any purpose...

Maybe its still the same point?

Greg said...

Hmmm. Seems like Genesis 3 says something about dust. What are we to make of that? At any rate, there is no question about our existence, but rather what state it takes. How about this? Maybe God wants us to be responsible and accomplish things out of what has been given to us. He doesn't want us to get out of the way, but to get into it so that we're engaged and accounted for.

Angela said...

God intends us to be somebody and something.
How much should we make that our focus, though?
Yet we shouldn't lose ourselves entirely.

There's a line of an old him that says:
"...him exalting, self-abasing, this is victory."
I don't agree with the self-abasing part!

I think God asks for all of us, a surrender of our hearts and wills. This is not a self-abasing exercise so much as it is a meeting with the One who knows and loves us more than we know ourselves. Surrender is a welcome to an adventure with him in which he breathes his life and heart into us and our
true gifts come out more and more. We are becoming the somebody he intends us to be
as we open the door to him. This somebody
doesn't necessarily mean famous or rich or
highly esteemed, but it doesn't NOT mean these
things either.

Lukas has a good point that we cannot praise
and worship God as nobodies.

carter said...

Well, here I am, 2 days late. Interesting question. When god approached Moses and Gideon, for example, they protested in the way of "who am I to do this?" They demanded to be nobodies. contrast this with the admonitions of Philippians 2 where we are to follow the example of Christ who emptied himself and took on the form of a slave.

Is this a question of how to define "nothing" or "nobody?" Self-denying rather than self-hating.

Greg said...

Thanks. I see you struggling to formulate a good balance in this helpful comment. I like it. Seems to me that God wants to redeem the creational self - that is, an image of God tainted by sin, and to give a new self that will be gradually, yet ultimately transformed into the image of Christ. We're somebodies all right, but only fully who God wants us to be when we recognize he is creator and redeemer.

Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, God seems to see us as sombodies, even when we seek not to be.

Christ emptying himself has to do with humility and service as marks of being a certain kind of somebody.

When self-denial comes up I always wonder which self we're to be denying. Doesn't seem like it would be the self that has some capacity to do something good as an image of God.

The question was targeting the idea that Christians sometimes have concerning who they are and who God is. I often find many Christians seem to assume that being spiritual is to be a nobody and a zero, because God wants them to embrace this status. Conversely, I don't think this is spiritual at all. There is a place for us. I think Angela alludes to something of this by stating the need to avoid self abasement or being self centered, while recognizing that God invites us to meet him.