Fully Human

Dan Strange

It’s been said that the biggest question for the church in the first millennium was ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ For the second millennium it was ‘How are we saved?’ and now as we begin the third millennium the question has become ‘What is a human being?’ 

Our theme for the Crosslands Forum Winter Conference was Fully Human, and Dan Strange reflects on what he learned below.

Matthew Mason’s keynote address at the Crosslands Winter Conference was titled ‘Dust Bound for Heaven’. The first part of his talk (including us watching a terrifying ‘Podbabies’ video – google it!) noted our world of technological artifice, identifying our need for mediators and the problems of a technological society.

Matthew then drew our focus to the world of reality: we are creatures, dust bound for heaven, and we are sinners who need a better mediator.

My talk ‘Fully human learners’ focused on two areas. First, the more perspectives we take time to understand and appreciate, the richer our understanding of the truth will be and the less prone we will be to misunderstanding and error. Limited creatures with limited perspective need more perspectives in order to better live and serve in a world. Second, what do we need to learn about learning (pedagogy)? Christians emphasise that both teaching and learning can be thought of in terms of hospitality.

Jen Charteris’ focus was ‘Fully human leaders:’ How do we lead from an understanding of our own createdness and sinfulness? How do we create working or serving environments that acknowledge (rather than ignore or ‘solve’) the createdness and sinfulness of those we lead?

The question-and-answer session at the end provoked some incredibly interesting discussions, demonstrating how much these issues are at play in pastoral ministry and in every local church. From concerns about a crisis of leadership in the church to how to pastor those living with chronic illness or disability, the questions of what it means to be fully human will be significant for many years to come.