Week 1

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Jae
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Week 1

Post by Jae » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:02 pm

So in week one we are asked

''How might the world be changed if we were to recognize all our fellow human beings are made in image of God''

and

''Can we see God also in non-believers/adherents of other faiths?''

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Jae
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Week One Questions

Post by Jae » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:10 pm

If anyone had difficulty finding this weeks Sunday Worship programme that ties in with the book and the questions above here is a link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0532g0f
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

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Beth
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Week One Questions

Post by Beth » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:31 pm

Yes, I think we can see God in people of faiths not our own. I find the idea we are God's viceroys impacting. The thought we can see God in everyone is quite abstract. I see what is meant, and the idea of bowing when we meet, my God to your God, sums this up, because it's about respect for the truth in the other person.

We don't bow to each other, and if we did, I fear it would become habit without the thought we are meeting God each time we do it.

The problem for me is that humanness can distract from the qualities we like to meditate on that belong to God: faith, hope and love, for example.

I have found it easier, since going back to church, to spot these attributes, because there's a specific time of week I give to really looking for them in the people I meet, and absorbing them, and then trying to reflect what I've learned in how I behave.

The problem with looking for God in everyone (and I do try) is that it's freshly confusing each time a human treats you badly. Each time my parents mistreat me I am confused as if it were the first time they'd done it, and that is partially the nature of faith. I know self-examination helps, and I am not perfect. Still, if I were looking for God in them as witness to who He is, I would be extremely disappointed, and in the past I have been.

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Beth
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Week One Questions

Post by Beth » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:35 pm

On the other hand, I have to temper this with the truth that I've met lovely people in my life who have not been believers, or only nominally so. I can especially see this in the lives of my 3 nephews, and the teachers, neighbors and friends that support them on a daily basis, and now also my eldest niece (who was unhappy at school), who has a smashing boyfriend she lives with. Spiritual discernment is not easy or straightforward!

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Ernest
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Week One Questions

Post by Ernest » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:38 am

The basis for Man being the image of God is scriptural.

Gen 1:26 and 2:7. and

Creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I don't see a problem in seeing the image of God in all of humanity, whether or not they're Christians or belong to other faiths or beliefs or none. Goodness isn't confined to Christianity. Many people live by moral standards drawn from their faith beliefs or from secular ethics, which mirror Christian ones.

In much the same way, we might even see the face of Satan in those who we have proven evidence of evil - albeit, as despite all that they might have done, it might be difficult to not to see some evidence of a spark of goodness under the evil that we perceive.

And what about those who have no moral compass, whatsoever. Whose capacity to discern the difference for good or evil is absent from their psyche due to issues which might be due to deficiencies in their genetic makeup or mental health issues which cause them to lose all such inhibitions. The evidence is that such people do exist, therefore, how can we judge them by human standards? In the end, God can be the only judge of such things.
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Caroline
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Week One Questions

Post by Caroline » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:34 am

I have to say that I don't find the idea of viewing people as being made in the image of God particularly helpful. Yes, we are all made in his image, but we have all, to greater or lesser extents, fallen far short of the potential that that gives us. In many ways we have damaged that image.

I find it far more useful to remind myself that God loves every person I see just as much as he loves me, whatever they (or I) have done. And that's a facet of God that we should strive to be able to reflect more closely.

Being made in the image of God is more a challenge for me and my behaviour and responsibilities than a means of changing my attitude to other people.
Kindness is underrated.

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Beth
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Week One Questions

Post by Beth » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:00 pm

Yes, I can see that seeing people as made in God's image is a matter of respect - not blaming them for being different to you because they were also made in the image of God. Possibly this is more useful to apply in community, and to communities, than as individuals and to individuals because I think there has to be some accountability to what the image of God is. Maybe if you are further along in a walk with God or more "churched" than I am then this idea is easier to use through practice and community affirmation.

I can see when applied to groups that are usually discriminated against it has special relevance, for example people with learning disabilities, or women, two Archbishop Tutu mentions in his book. From what I read it's about empowering people to join the community of God, not really about deifying them, but in close relationships where there is inequality this idea could exacerbate narcissism!!!!

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Week One Questions

Post by Caroline » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:46 pm

Yes, that makes sense. I can see that it is important in terms of ensuring that we treat all groups of people equally. I suppose, too, that it develops the idea of God loving everyone equally, because it removes the possibility of believing this in a very condescending way.
Kindness is underrated.

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Beth
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Week One Questions

Post by Beth » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:19 pm

Desmond Tutu is well known for having an abusive Father: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/why-we-forgive

As he sees the Bible as subversive and power-changing I am intrigued to read the rest of the Lent book! Clearly, he didn't grow up to be a violent man, and maybe he feels he carries his own father's image as well as the heavenly father's.

As an archbishop he evidently has been vested with institutional power to try and change things. It's encouraging he feels he can use his influence for the good of humanity, and not be partisan. I'm not sure this is as easy if you are on the fringe of an organisation, although perhaps I'm underestimating my personal "powers" of kindness, goodness, forgiveness etc. and the fruits of the Spirit.

I think I'd have to have a secure boundary in knowing I was unquestionably made in the image of God before seeing God in ALL others, as in love your neighbor as yourself. Having said that, I try and pray for my enemies.

With churches it can be that certain people are seen to carry the image of God more than others. The church I'm going to at the moment is warm, friendly and welcoming. I'm receiving a lot of healing from being able to deal with my past in community. For example, I bump into people I used to know and they help me navigate those choppy waters and some of stigmas around my mental health. It's not easy.

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