Saturday, June 7, 2014

Trying to Do for Ourselves What Only God Can Do

David Wells:
The language of the self is not interchangeable with human nature. They are two entirely different things. The self is the way we think about ourselves when we are inhabiting a psychologized universe. Human nature is how we think of ourselves in a moral universe, and, as understood in the imago Dei, it is how we think of ourselves in God's universe. This is our entry into a Christian worldview. . . . This substitute language of the self, with the whole overlay of techniques that goes with it, is a false trail, a dead end. 
Why is this? May I gently suggest that the reason is that the essence of pride is finding in the self what in fact can only be found in God. So pride leads us to think much about the self and much of the self. We imagine that within ourselves we have power enough, wisdom enough, and strength enough to find our way out of our own painful realities. Inevitably, though, very finite preoccupations are substituted for those that are eternal. Here is the "autonomous self" at work. 
The self movement has tapped into this by offering self-mastery through the right technique. It encourages us to think much about the self and much of the self. It is an industry that lives off of and for pride. As such, it offers a way to dissolve all the internal aches and heal all the internal wounds that life inflicts as we try to do for ourselves what in fact only God can do.
—David Wells, The Courage to Be ProtestantTruth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 167–168.

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