Monday, August 8, 2011

I Am Human

In my senior year of High School, I attended a “rebolution” event hosted by Brett and Alex Harris. They are the little brothers of the infamous Joshua Harris (author of “I kissed dating goodbye”) and the sons of Gregg Harris (a well known leader in the Home School community.) The “rebolution” is a movement that challenges young people to rise above the low expectations of the culture and become men and women of honor. At first it sounds like a great idea. The American teenager is often pushed aside and discounted. We are not treated as full members of society. I loved the idea of a movement encouraging kids to fearlessly pursue their dreams and step outside the “irresponsible teenager” box. However, the Harris brothers do not want kids to pursue their dreams. They want them to pursue “God’s” dream. Much like Eric and Leslie Ludy, they teach young people that God has a plan for them bigger than any dream or desire they might have. They talk about our fallen, depraved culture and about life’s struggles, and then proceed to give us the recipe for success. No matter what your situation in life, you can fix it by “selling out” to Jesus. They tell us that it is impossible to engage in the world and still be a real Christian. All our problems are caused by our lack of faith, by our inability to leave the world behind and trust God fully. They challenge kids to stand up in the middle of the seminar and confess their apathy. They demand that we forsake all, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. I saw kids with tears streaming down their faces, convinced that they had finally found the answer. I watched them commit to purity and promise to throw away all their secular music. I saw girls zip up their jackets, ashamed of the clothing that so clearly represented the world. I watched an auditorium full of my generation get swept away.

Christians get all excited about the idea of being set apart. It makes you special, part of something bigger, and definitely on the winning team. I’m not sure when Fundamentalists decided that the highest form of devotion was separation, but somewhere along the line, they decided that our souls were the only important part of our being. The human body, Emotion, Culture, Self expression, and the fruits of the human mind have somehow become the enemies of our souls. We all want to be fulfilled. As humans, this often leads us to make radical decisions and do crazy things. There is nothing more radical than denying our very humanity.

To remove yourself from “the world” is to remove yourself from your humanity. Humans have bodies and minds as well as souls. We create art and music and scientific theories. A lifestyle that demands only spiritual expression will squelch human emotion. A worldview that rejects any knowledge and beauty apart from God will not engage or value the power of the human mind. We cannot pick and choose which parts of our being to keep or throw away.  When you do this, you run the risk of setting yourself above all others. I was taught from an early age to look down on women wearing makeup. I was taught that my emotions were something to hate and my sexuality was something to be ashamed of. I was taught Doctors were liars and the Psychology was the devil’s work. I was taught disdain for fashion and culture. Fundamentalist groups see human nature as evil. They promote a lifestyle that is supposedly Godly only by virtue of being different from everyone else. They have lost site of the enduring and troubled beauty that is humanity. Humans are blessed with a range of emotions and senses as wide as the sky and as deep as the ocean. History and culture are a canvas painted by human hands, minds and hearts. We are an excellent and fascinating creation.

I love knowing that i am no different from the guy sitting next to me on the bus. For the first time in my life I acknowledge my feelings as valid and natural. I am fascinated by psychology and the study of the human mind. I am free at last to engage in my culture without fear of demons or destruction. I LOVE BEING HUMAN. Brett and Alex Harris mean well. They were taught what I was taught. They think they have found the answer and they are passionate about sharing it with their peers. But they are missing out. Humans are so much more than a soul. 

We cannot live fulfilled lives without accepting the fullness of our humanity.


  1. Completely agree with you. I actually was agreeing with the Harris brothers until this: "they tell us that it is impossible to engage in the world and still be a real Christian". That's a load of crap. Jesus himself engaged with the "world" & He was still HOLY! While I long for a life that's is "sold out" & wholly given to Christ, I still have free will that is GOD GIVEN.

    I want whatever God has for me & I firmly believe that He gives me thoughts & ideas that I may have never considered to guide me towards His will. But He won't force His will on me or want me to give up the joy of sharing life with others. We're not robots & we're not hermits!

  2. "I love knowing that i am no different from the guy sitting next to me on the bus."

    This. This I think is one of the most beautiful things about leaving. Other people are just, well, other people! They're not evil or hellbound, they're just trying to live their lives the best they can like everyone else. Love it!

  3. Amen! They promote a monastic lifestyle for everyone. Which is insane.

  4. I LOVED this post. :) They are missing out. I am still trying to figure out what exactly I am besides a mindless soul whose body isn't worth taking care of. It's scary, but exciting at the same time.

  5. Very interesting. I am battling some of these same things, some not.