Tuesday, September 16, 2008

imago dei from len sweet

Hi Len - I need a good way to respond re: the imago dei concerning the
mentally ill.

I've read everything I can find on the imago dei, but all answers leave room
for the more mentally ill to somehow be defined as NOT imago dei.

For example, if we define it as self-awareness...then some of the mentally
ill wouldn't qualify

If we define it as relationship with god...then some of the mentally ill -
who are relationally incapable in the minds of psychiatrists and therapists
- are left out.

Got any quick thoughts?



Very early in life I learned a compass setting that has helped me navigate
through many thickets of thought. Here it is: you legislate for the norm,
you allow for the exception.

In other words, much of our conversations about any "problematique" ends up
trying to cover every conceivable example. Whereas I begin with the
assumption that there will always be some "exceptions" that will not fit
into any known category, and that you begin with that premise and not spend
all your time trying to explain or explore those "exceptions." An
"exception" is, by definition, an "exception." And there are certain
"exceptional" people and examples that deserve exploration in their own
right, not trying to fit them into some category.

God put us here "to tend and till the garden," or in my translation, "to
conserve and conceive" God's creativity. The key to "imago Dei" is the
connection between relationship and creation/imagination. To be created "in
the image of God" means we are creations of God's imaginings, we are the
imagination of God, and we are to respect and revere each other as similarly
conceived divine imaginings.


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