Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Are Made in the Image of God

"Pastors never trust the self-image of anyone. That's because most people construct their identities from an assortment of borrowed images. The typical American today strives to be as attractive as the models on fashion magazine covers, as successful in work as Bill Gates, as sensitive a spouse and parent as June Cleaver, and as death-defyingly healthy as Lance Armstrong - all while maintaining the inner peace of the Dalai Lama. The fact that these images are often in conflict with each other creates tension within the heart of the individual, who tries desperately to meet all their demands."

"The restoration of Christ, often referred to as conversion, does not make us into different people but converts us back to what God designed us to be from the very beginning - specifically, creatures who bear the mark of holiness. This is a progressive process through which we are changes "from one degree of glory to another" (2 Cor. 3:18). But our movement through this sanctification occurs not through our own efforts at developing piety. It is only as the Holy Spirit binds us into the life of Christ that we are able to take on this holiness. Thus, our spirituality is always vicarious, since it is through this union in Christ that we are made holy. He is the image of God that we bear on our lives."

"Rather than using the few reflective listening skills we learned in our Introduction to Pastoral Care seminary classes, whichi is only another way of holding up the judgemental mirror, we pastors need to hold up Jesus Christ. "See him?" we say. "That's who you really are. Everything else about you is just pretending."

- M. Craig Barnes in The Pastor as Minor Poet

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