Human Flourishing: A Preface for Hard Conversations

Book studies and conversations

Respect the dignity of all people—there it is, in a nutshell: the Christian Code of Ethics. By the time we are in kindergarten, we recognize that people are not treated equally. Humans discriminate. We inherit cultural beliefs that tell us who should be feared, trusted, expected to excel in academics, sports, music, etc. Profiling comes easily to us—it is embedded in our culture. 

And yet, there is this, in John 13:34:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

And this, from Matthew 22:37-40:

Jesus declared, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

God commanded — didn’t suggest, didn’t ask, commanded — that we love our neighbors. And God tells us how much we are to love our neighbors — as much as God loves us, as much as we love ourselves. That’s a pretty high bar. How are we to attain it?

In October 2020, Dr. Scott Bader-Saye, Professor of Christian Ethics at Seminary of the Southwest, was our guest lecturer. His topic, Human Flourishing:  A Preface for Hard Conversations, set a foundation for us to explore racism, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, and other difficult-to-talk-about topics. Why? Because God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

We listened to Dr. Bader-Saye’s lecture via Zoom, and then welcomed a robust discussion. What we did learn about human flourishing?  How does it inform the way we experience our Baptismal Covenant? 

With a shared understanding of Human Flourishing, we launched a continuing series of book studies & discussions.

Thus far, we have studied:

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo, PhD.

Love is the Way, by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

A video lecture featuring Prof. L. Michael White which discusses same-sex relationships in Bible verses

Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence  by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

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