12 August 2014

Foundational Ideas: Relationality

As I continue to explore what I consider ideas foundational to my thinking, the second is relationality. The importance of relationship is a cardinal belief in my worldview. As a Christian, I believe that God exists as a trinity.  Three persons, one God. From eternity past, God has existed in perfect, Trinitarian relationship. The three of them have engaged in a beautiful dance forever—what some have called perichoresis. They are mutually serving and other focused, always joyful and always loving.

Humans were also created to relate. I think one big part of bearing the image of God is that we are relational beings. We exist to function in relationship.  It is in our DNA.  In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived together harmoniously with one another and with God, who walked with them in the garden. There was no shame, no hiddenness. But at the fall in Genesis 3, man hid himself from God and he covered himself up.  Shame had entered the picture which carried with it a drawing back in relationship, an isolation. 

Nevertheless, the need for relational connection continues. As humans, we require accepting, loving, gracious relationships with other people. Unfortunately, those are often broken. Some of the psychological literature on the importance of early attachment and how it can become broken is profound in its implications and it is supported by the Bible, which reminds us that we were made to relate.

Perhaps the person who helped me to see this best was Larry Crabb. Essentially all of Dr Crabb’s books deal with the importance of relating with one another, though I would happily recommend Becoming a True Spiritual Community and Connecting.  Furthermore, through Dr Crabb, I heard about the works of Darryl Johnson (Experiencing theTrinity) and Michael Reeves (Delighting in the Trinity).  Yet the most important thing you can do is begin to live in relationship with one another. Practice moving toward people in the middle of their mess, a concept I learned from Ed Welch.  Failure to address our poor relating will be detrimental to Christ’s church.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you love one another."-John 13:34-35 

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