For many Christian people, spirituality is set against our humanity. In order to become more spiritual, we must lose ourselves, our desires, our identities, and become more like some abstract idealized vision of what God wants for us and from us.
This is not at all a biblical vision of spirituality. God’s original intention for humanity was to grow up into and fill out all that it meant to be human. In our brokenness, we’ve become pathetic and perverted caricatures of true humanity. In salvation, God does not remove us from our humanity, but is at work in Christ and by the Spirit to restore our humanity. Spirituality, then, involves our participation with God in this restorative process.
Steve Guthrie says it this way in his book Creator Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human:
[T]he spiritual is not opposed to the human. Quite the opposite. There is in fact a deep and intimate connection between Spirit-uality (the work of God’s Holy Spirit) and our own deepest and truest humanity. We might even say that the Holy Spirit is the humanizing Spirit, the breath of God that transforms dust into a living soul. The work of the Holy Spirit is to fulfill, complete, create, and re-create our humanity, remaking us after the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ (pp. 34-35).
I am so thoroughly enjoying Steve’s book and will likely have much to say about it in the next few weeks. It’s quite wide-ranging, very well-written, and entirely readable. It’s an exploration of the arts through the lens of the Holy Spirit, and a theology of the Spirit through the lens of the arts.