(Photo by Ina Echternack,CCvia Flickr)
(This post first appeared in Missio Alliance)
A while ago I heard someone say “Christian discipleship is the process of becoming more human”. I remember the phrase staying with me for some time as I tossed and turned it over in my mind. Why was this phrase standing out to me? Usually we hear, “Christian discipleship is the process of becoming more Christlike”, so replacing that with “human” makes the hearer think twice. I think one of the reasons that we might stumble over this phrase is perhaps because when we think about becoming more Christlike, we think of becoming more “spiritual” which is often seen to be in opposition to being human. Being human is usually associated with “the flesh”, sin and failure. Being spiritual is to be holy, godly and separated from the possible contamination of this world. So in the minds of some Christians, being Christlike is more about escape from our humanity and our bodies so that we might be truly spiritual, holy and free from sinful flesh. To say then that Christian discipleship is “a process of becoming more human”, rattles the Gnosticism which sits hidden in the collective subconsciousness of much of Evangelical Christianity.