Stature – now there’s a giggle. The transition has been lifelong – from the skinny, gawky unco-ordinated youth to what I overheard someone describing as that “round little man.” It seems my stature increase has been outward in all the wrong places rather than upward. Daily moderate exercise and lean eating have done little to modify such a transition, yet I continue to attend to both. Sometimes one just has to flow into one’s genes.
There are other ways of attending to stature, however. There is financial stature, and I am grateful that I was pointed early to a healthy and generous superannuation scheme presided, over at that time, by our national body of churches. It will cover accommodation and a modest income for us both, perhaps eventually augmented by a pension.
There is the reputational stature painstakingly built over decades of ministry and interaction collegially and ecumenically. It will be important to continue to nurture those connections.
Robert Louis Stevenson reminds me that even these are not the sum of the stature to which we are called:
We must accept life for what it actually is – a challenge to our quality without which we should never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.
Sober words with which we are invited to not only assess and accept the nature of our limits – but transcend them!
Theosis – a truer perspective
Discussions with Eastern Orthodox folk awoke me some time ago to the core Christian perspective of theosis, however – and this is how I would now measure stature. We in the West have inherited an unhealthy preoccupation with the Fall, becoming somewhat obsessed with an Augustinian awareness of a deep plummet from grace. A lot of our Christology and soteriology is focused on dealing with humanity’s flaws. Such a focus has given legs to powerplays and abusive policy at the highest levels of church and state. Theosis simply reasserts the presence of the Divine Spark in humanity, and the call through the Christ to grow into the image of the Creator of all things – a call to grow into the stature of divinity – a never-ending journey that goes far beyond what we artificially call retirement.
“The glory of God is [us] fully alive” – pronounced, Irenaeus, a second-century Father of the Church. Far more can be said about this.
But for now, this call to keep increasing in stature excites me!