“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27)
Content – Context – Contextualization
Authentic spirituality, as in the framework of the Christian faith, is that which affirms one in the person of Jesus Christ, the embodiment of love (1 John 4:7-8). Christianity, as it pertains to the person of Christ, must be made to become an existential reality incorporating all aspects of human life. In a world of ambiguity where the individual finds itself lost in a sea of cognitive turbulence polarized by the globalization of religious tolerance, the church serves as that “house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7), where human beings find meaning to their existence in communion with God and in community with each other. Authentic spirituality, in order to be relevant and significantly meaningful, ought to be exemplified as acts of love realized within the context of daily living in the individual’s quest towards self-actualization (1 Corinthians 13). Authentic spirituality thereby, necessitates a divine encounter that is both an expression and experience of love as epitomized in the person of Jesus Christ for “in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
Authentic humanity, in the framework of meaningful existence, is humanity that affirms itself within community in the process of daily living. It is sometimes referred to as being “fully human” (Powell, 1976). It is actualized through the activities of life motivated by the affirmation of one’s self-concept: one’s core beliefs, one’s social context, and one’s ecological environment. It strives towards self-fulfillment driven by the desire to be loved and a duty to love. Authentic humanity, in order to be relevant to the individual’s quest towards self-fulfillment, must be objectified within the scope of one’s environment with due regards to the elements of one’s culture, the potential of one’s being and the process of one’s development. To be fully human is to be a product of one’s biopsychosocial environment. It is a conscious self, aware of its individual existence, and yet attune to that of others. And, in the act of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, one becomes both the subject and the object of love. Authentic humanity is as psychologically determined as it is socially defined, and yet, essentially spiritual for it is as Christ is in us and God in Christ that we are brought to complete unity (John 17:23); to be fully human.
Authentic worship is the essence of a blended lifestyle; a fusion of divinity and humanity where divinity informs and influences humanity and humanity experiences and expresses divinity. It is a grounded reality where the Word becomes incarnate: fleshed-out within the context of human existence where the human being becomes more than just hearers and recipients but doers and participants in the divine nature, connected and in communion with God (2 Peter 1:3-4). Authentic worship is not confined within four walls at a momentary act of praise but is a lifestyle of living letters known and read by all (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). Authentic worship is an enactment of God within the sphere of human existence (Philippians 2:13).
Authentic Christianity, as it relates to authentic humanity, is validated and affirmed as the presence of God manifested within the human condition. We hold this to be self-evident in the person of Jesus Christ, truly God and truly Man, a blended reality (John 1:14). It is both an identification with the human condition and the participation with the divine solution that are enacted in the process of salvation. It is as a result of such a process that we become fully human and truly godlike; converted, connected, and in communion with God.
Authentic spirituality is a divine expression. Authentic humanity is humanity encountering divinity. Authentic worship is a blended experience of God engaging humanity. Authentic Christianity is the existential reality of the Word becoming flesh within the context of the human predicament, offering a message of faith, a measure of hope, a mandate to love. In spite of the tension brought about by the matrix of cultural and social changes, the church serves as an agent of stability, a continuum of constancy, and paradigm of meaning in an environment that is apt to foster ambiguity and alienation. Christianity is indeed the embodiment of Love, hunting for the hurting to help them heal. In substance: God in Christ, in us, reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Authenticity is the process of being truly godlike while being fully human. “Christ in us is the hope of such glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Rev. Dr. Victor A. Price
Pastor in Residence