One of the talks that blew me away the most at Cru15, our staff conference, was the one presented by Andy Crouch on reflecting God’s image. It was surprising to hear him describe the image of God as a combination of “authority” (Genesis 1:26) and “vulnerability” (Genesis 2:25). We tend to think it almost blasphemous to consider God vulnerable in any way—but the Bible describes a God who is often grieved, and was there ever a more vulnerable act than for Jesus to put aside all the privileges of godhood to suffer and die for His enemies (Philippians 2:5-8)?
What does that mean for us? Crouch believes that in order for us to truly flourish as image bearers, we must have both authority and vulnerability. He says that the fall created inequality, injustice and idolatry because some would escape vulnerability at the cost of others losing authority. According to Crouch, this hurts both parties, cutting us off from the life God intended for us. He calls “privilege” a wind that blows us away from vulnerability and away from fellowship with God.
You can’t read Scripture without seeing God’s mandate for us to love the impoverished, and that would mean those with power (that’s you and me) becoming vulnerable and giving our authority to those without it. That doesn’t mean a handout from on high, nor does it mean Cru comes to “show churches how it’s done.” Our posture must be to lift others up, and I’ve still got a lot to learn about that kind of humility.