Christmas and Becoming Human

The significance of the Christmas season of celebration took on new clarity for me in encountering a quote from the influential New Testament scholar Walter Wink (who was also among the founders of the Girardian ‘guild’, the Colloquium on Violence & Religion). His body of work climaxed in a very real sense with a distinctively anthropological turn to his overall reading of Scripture with his book The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man. And then his autobiography followed suit: Just Jesus: My Struggle to Become Human. I offer you this Wink quote as the essence of what we celebrate at Christmas:

“And this is the revelation: God is HUMAN … It is the great error of humanity to believe that it is human. We are only fragmentarily human, fleetingly human, brokenly human. We see glimpses of our humanness, we can only dream of what a more human existence and political order would be like, but we have not yet arrived at true humanness. Only God is human, and we are made in God’s image and likeness — which is to say, we are capable of becoming human.” (Walter Wink, Just Jesus, p. 102; and a parallel in The Human Being, p. 26)

In short, Jesus alone is Human Being. You and I are Human Becoming more than Human Being.

I also propose that this constitutes a startling and concise statement of the importance of Mimetic Theory, as helping to bridge the gap between the Christian anthropological revelation and the human sciences’ ability to guide us into more broadly and deeply understanding what it means to become human.

(For more, see my webpage for Christmas; and this sermon from John Davies in 2015, “Becoming Human: The Shepherds’ Instinct, the Magis’ Hunch,” offered with these reflections in mind.)

The notion of ‘becoming human’ presumes an ongoing conversion process, which in turn implies practices that continually open us to conversion. Join us for our 2016 Theology & Peace Annual Conference, “Embracing WE-CENTRICITY: PRACTICES that NURTURE the COMMON GOOD,” as we explore and nurture such practices.

Theology & Peace wishes you a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

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