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In the beginning – exquisite vulnerability

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By Dave Henning / December 21, 2017

“In the beginning, in Eden, human vulnerability was exquisite.  Then came the Fall, and hiding, and shame.  And it became excruciating.  Then Jesus entered into our vulnerability, so that one day it might become exquisite again.  That is our hope.”- John Ortberg

John Ortberg concludes Chapter 9 of I’d Like You More . . . as he observes we can’t get to exquisite without feeling vulnerable in the process.  Most noteworthy, as Henry Cloud points out, God deliberately placed tear ducts in our eyes.  Because, Henry states, God wants our tears front and center.  Right where we don’t want them, but right where other people can see them.

However, Pastor Ortberg notes, this reflects a strange truth.  Although we admire vulnerability in others, we dislike it in ourselves.  Writing in Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (1995), Madeleine L’Engle states:

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would not longer be vulnerable.  But to grow up is to accept vulnerability . . . .  To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

Yet, John adds, early on we learn to lie, pretend, and misrepresent inner thoughts and feelings.  But for us to achieve intimacy, we must show willingness to expose our weaknesses, insecurities, and true selves.  That entails humility as well as vulnerability to others.  Many people express no interest in this, as Kent Dunnington (Addiction and Virtue, 2011) describes:

“”We are afraid that if we confessed our sins, other people might make their claims on our lives by insisting on praying for us and asking us how we are doing.  Most of us are not sure we want the church to be that involved.”

Therefore, exquisite vulnerability = our only hope.

Today’s question: How does Jesus give you hope for exquisite vulnerability?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Shattering the illusion of self-mastery”

About the author

Dave Henning


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