"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10b

As I think forward to the Friends of Jesus Fellowship's fall gathering, I find myself reflecting on what it means to be fully human, to shed the living death of the first Adam and come into the life that Jesus promised, not just as an individual but in community. I would really like to hear what this gospel humanity, this abundant life, means to folks here on QQ.

What do our carnal lives lack? What would abundant life look like? What keeps us from the full benefit of God's promise to us?

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Hi Adria!

The abundant life that you speak of in terms of "shedding the living death of the first Adam" is available to us but so hard to put into words or convey to one another, don't you think?

My thoughts go toward:

- the journey toward becoming deeply authentic in my relationship with God, and with other people,

- similarly, the journey that is always pointing the way toward greater personal intimacy with God...bringing more and more of the minutae forward openly, and more of my feelings,

- I also think about the healing power of touch and certain gifted healers who I have heard share that the work helped enable clients to experience their own body (somehow) returning to Eden, returning to innocence, letting go of the old baggage of years and breathing freely.  

So yeah, I like that you title this whole thing "becoming fully human."

Thanks, Olivia, for sharing. I think bringing our whole selves to our relationships - both with God and with other folks - is so essential. We always bring our best selves, our polished selves, but it is harder to bring our rage, our fear, our weakness, our selfishness and our spite. But acknowledging those things is essential for honesty. Jesus came to liberate us from our weakness, not to reward us for our strength.

Also, I am realizing that many of us simply don't know how to be in community. Some of us - including me for a long time - have been so conditioned by our DIY liberal meetings or we are so self-righteous and "prophetic" that we don't feel like we need others. We would rather be "holy" by ourselves than in community with others. Alternatively, we may have absorbed the dominant "church as lecture hall" view and expect that showing up once a week is all we are supposed to be doing. All of these views contradict the norms of gospel community.

Jesus commanded us to love each other. This is not optional. And nobody ever said, "They shall know you by your willingness to abandon each other over small doctrinal differences and personality conflicts." Being fully human entails being in true fellowship. This requires that we give others authority over us and that we be willing to sacrifice for a greater good. This is a deeply countercultural stance in today's me-focused culture.

Hi again!

I believe you are speaking of valuing of authentic community in all its messiness... if I understand that correctly, yes I agree! 

"I think bringing our whole selves to our relationships - both with God and with other folks - is so essential. We always bring our best selves, our polished selves, but it is harder to bring our rage, our fear, our weakness, our selfishness and our spite."

You know...another piece of it that doesn't get recognized enough in our society is that when we bring what we consider some of these things:  our own limitations, weakness, personal needs that appear to trump what someone else needs...  well, I have found personally that when someone else brought those things to me instead of the unconditional love that I wanted from them and no grief from them...when they instead brought to me "here's what I can do and what I can't" and "here's where I'm going to go with you and where I'm not" and even "I have had enough!"  ...those things really helped me to have feedback that I needed and change behavior that I needed to change.  (slowly, but it did.)

I didn't want to have to change or to have to feel so mortified...but it was only because of their limitations that I realized that I WANTED to change and to still find that human connection there...  The alternative would have looked like me just acting like I felt like...but them feeling less supported by that friendship, and less actual quality in it.

Unfortunately this journey has ruined me for some types of friendships that instead value unconditional acceptance just as we are.  I DO love people as they are...but I also love them enough to be me and bring what I actually need to that negotiation process.  I have come to love the people who are strong enough to say what they need and to not put up with other people's mess beyond a certain point.  I still see this being a very counter-cultural message, at least among liberals like myself.

Do you find this contradictory to the Gospel message?

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