I've been thinking this week about how individualism has infected American Christianity and two phrases came to mind:
  • "personal Savior"
  • "personal quiet time/bible study"
Looking at Genesis 1 (verse 27 especially), it seems that the image of God would be primarily and most accurately reflected in humanity as a whole ("he created them"), though his image is reflected in individuals as well ("he created him"). There should be, I think, a balance between the two notions. Problem is, our individualistic culture has skewed reality to such a degree that God's image in humanity must be emphasized.

So, where else do we see individualism in the church? How do we encourage balance? How do we protect against the almost inevitable over compensation?


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  1. I think we have masses to get our heads around with the simple commandment to "love your neighbour as yourself". I'm still working on this one, but it seems to me that really understanding and doing this TRULY SATISFIES the very thing within us that we try to fill with individualism.

  2. I think you've pegged it. The solution to our imbalance is simple (as in not complex), though for us difficult. I often notice people--as in ME--not being able to see past their own faces. The command to "love your neighbour as yourself" is the one thing: we know the process of love--for we love ourselves--we must tend that love out towards others.

  3. I think there might be more to it than that? I think it's a truly reflexive relationship?

    How often have you met someone who is angry at everybody and everything, because deep down inside they're angry at themselves?

    Have you noticed that those who are incredible at loving others are at total peace with themselves?

    Could it be that we don't love ourselves any more (or less) than we love our fellow man? We're created for community.

    We don't really understand ourselves until we start to work-through caring about others. And we don't understand others until we allow them to work-through their care towards us.

    (cough) This is getting a bit deep, even for me!

  4. I think it's both. We know how to put ourselves first (one aspect of loving), BUT even this is tainted by sin. I do think you are correct, though. In fact, the more messed up our self love, the more we need to learn how to love by loving others.

    I think it's a matter of learning to love without that love becoming idolatrous.

  5. > I think it's both

    That's what I meant to say too (by "reflexive"). But I only illustrated the direction we hadn't already discussed.

    I'm getting tired I think - working too late again :-(

    Great chat :-)