The Dignity and Limits of Being Human
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
There is so much humbling about being human, about being physical. It is in our humanity that we discover our limits. It is in our humanity that we discover our loves and our desires and our rages and our passions.
It is also in our humanity that we can (and must) engage what we perceive to be the bigger, higher things of life: ideas, spirituality, vision, commitments, etc.
Racism, whiteness, systems, churches, politics, and even and especially the inbreaking of the kingdom of God – these are all big forces worked out and expressed in human bodies.
Being human is the only way that we have to live in the world, and God designed it that way. Humanness is an unarguable constraint as well as a divine gift.
Being human is a gift, because it gives us a vehicle for action in response to what God is doing in our hearts and because it helps us to remember that we are not God. We can only do a very little bit with our hands, feet, mouths, lungs, and hearts, but we can do that very little bit out of a holy, dignified, eternal connection to our life in God.
Dallas Willard was a man gifted in re-explaining the gospel, the kingdom, and the spiritual disciplines in a way that calls us back to the heart of life with Jesus as modern day people working it all out.
He was big on living life with God, now.
He was big on engaging the age-old “spiritual disciplines” (fasting, prayer, silence, solitude, etc.) as literal practices to till our human soil. He believed that these practices train us to keep living life with God, even in the inevitable pain of being human.
He was big on the kingdom of God being among us, now, and believed that following Jesus means yoking ourselves to Him and then living our life, in all of its humanness.
Willard says it this way:
“The person who has the easiest, the happiest, the strongest life is the person who walks in the yoke with Christ. Only as we do that do we begin to draw the strength and direction that straightens out everything that is wrong in human existence. It does sometimes lead to a battle with a world gone wrong around us, but that world needs that battle, and they need us to stand steady in the yoke with Christ.
“What is the yoke of Christ…to be in the yoke with Christ is to pull his load with him. What is his load? It is to bring the reign of God into ordinary life. That is why he came the way he did, lived the way he did and died the way he did. In the midst of a world of ordinary human life he was pulling the load of bringing the kingdom of God into ordinary human life. That was his message.”
- Living in Christ’s Presence, 14-15
The invitation to walk with Christ with our lives, bringing the kingdom, is deeply motivating to Kaleid women, and so we celebrate the good work of our summer groups--the Be the Bridge 101 group and the contemplative group--where we have had the opportunity to imagine the kingdom of God coming into ordinary human life.
As Kaleid women, we have encountered and embraced the dignity and the limits of our humanity. We have walked into the beauty of realizing that we are deeply loved, just as we are. We have walked into the sorrow of realizing that we are deeply limited, even sometimes because of our whiteness.
Next month, we will change it up a bit. Our August email series will be quieter, because we are quieting ourselves for a time before we begin preparing what’s next for the fall. You’ll notice that our August emails will have a quote, a picture, and perhaps an announcement. We will honor the dignity and limits of our humanity with the wise words of others who have lived well.
If you’re interested in participating with us in August as we remain in a posture of learning and listening as it pertains to race in America, we invite you to join us for a book club on Jemar Tisby’s book The Color of Compromise, about the church and racism. We’ll meet live on August 23 from 7-9 in Clarkston or virtually on August 26 from 7-9 via zoom. Visit our website to learn more.
As always, we are grateful to journey with you. We are not made to walk alone.
The Kaleid Team