Monday, June 07, 2010

Symposium on Human Nature: Brief Reflection

I missed the final morning of the conference, which involved a paper on society by Chris Accornero of SWU and a summary by Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent. But I heard all the papers on Saturday.

There was some good material here: one paper on sexual transformation and one on spousal abuse stand out as very informative. It was enjoyable to listen to one paper through a video link with Jamaica--problems getting a visa for the speaker, probably because of some of the problems they're having there right now. There were other enjoyable papers and I regret I did not hear Chris', which was on the societal dimension of restoring human nature.

There were thus some great pieces to the puzzle of human nature at the conference. I look forward to reading how Dr. Lyon integrated the pieces in the final summary.

There were also some glaring omissions of pieces, at least during the time I was there. For example, it is hard to see how a Christian can speak about what it might mean to be fully human or fully restored as human without talking a good deal about Jesus Christ. Oops. In terms of the assumed topic of Human Nature, therefore, we must on this point alone consider the conference deeply incomplete.

Also, in an age where brain science can locate the part of the brain where spirituality "lights up" and where evolution overwhelmingly dominates the scientific landscape, no symposium meaning to be relevant to the current questions about human nature could possibly be complete without significant engagement here. This is also not to mention the recent trend even in evangelical circles to question of whether the Bible teaches we have a detachable soul.

In short, it is always nice to have a reason to meet with old friends. :-)

P.S. Start of next chapter on seminary Dean's blog, this one on postmodernism and Wesleyanism.

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