I write a lot about “human flourishing”—living a whole and healthy life marked by “shalom” (complete well-being). Yet to define what true flourishing is for a human, we must first define what a human is, for different types of things flourish in different environments.
Month: June 2017
Artists are able to see beauty before it exists, and bring it into being, taking raw materials such as paint, canvas, clay, metal, fabric, notes, words or movement, and producing something of value. I believe this is what Christians are called to do in culture—take what God has created and produce something of value, which leads to human flourishing and the common good. As Ted Turnau puts it, “God commands us to develop his creation. It makes sense, then, that the Bible begins with a garden and ends with a city.” (Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective, p. 54)
Wanting to avoid the extremes of the Demolition Engineer, many Christians go to the other extreme—a Cheerleader of culture. But this is equally unbiblical and problematic.
My friend was a Demolition Engineer in the Army. He complains that now he can’t enjoy beautiful architecture—his mind immediately goes to where to put the charges in order to destroy the building. This is how many Christians relate to culture.
Abortion, reproductive technologies, end-of-life issues, LGBT rights, environmental concerns, racial tensions, artistic expression. These are just a few of the important conversations currently underway in our culture. They are ultimately questions about how we define the nature and ends of humans, what the good life is, what constitutes human flourishing and how to promote the common good.