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Defining Human Flourishing as a Product of Intersoul Communication

Ideal for those well acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community

Photo by Mathias Reding

The Brief

In episode 517 of The Holy Post Podcast, frequent co-host Kaitlyn Schiess challenged the Christian community to write about human flourishing and how that impacts the way that we live in community. I considered this challenge and have decided to accept and expand the idea of the pursuit of human flourishing beyond what I believe is currently taking place. It is first necessary to recognise a distinction between pursuing abstract flourishing and pursuing human flourishing. Is the abstract flourishing of all created things the sufficient and consistent ideological end of Christianity? I believe it is certainly a part of it; perhaps the by-product of a more deserving end goal. Humans objectively flourish in certain environments of love and community which we know can and have been created on a one to one basis and even in a small community such as a family unit, but how does the abstract pursuit of flourishing scale? In this introduction, we will examine human flourishing as the by-product of the maintenance of intersoul communication.

Intersoul Communication

Human Flourishing is an objective end goal. Everyone wants to flourish in their own way, and ultimately we all agree about what flourishing looks like. When we consider the abstract objective of human flourishing, however, we do not consider that there are ends greater than my individual flourishing even if it also contributes to the so-called flourishing of the wider community. We will see that this kind of flourishing is always at the expense of our own humanity and the humanity of those least valued by the community. With the option of flourishing or communicating I would much rather communicate. Indeed, this is the example we received in Christ.

Jesus: the Great Teacher

We must reclaim Jesus’ example as the greatest communicator who ever lived. Consider that if Jesus was flourishing by anyone’s standards in heaven then, by comparison, he most certainly was not flourishing on earth. He gave up that which caused him to flourish, face to face communion with Himself, not to ensure the flourishing of those around Him; indeed, His closest followers were put to death for His sake just as He prophesied. He gave up that flourishing to re-establish the primary interface between the Father and His children. In the course of re-establishing this connection, Jesus demonstrated how to re-establish the primary interface with one another which resulted in human flourishing. By their faith, they walked and saw and spoke and were healed and ate. Jesus did not set up a secondary organisation to do this for him or shotgun heal or feed a whole crowd–he did it personally, one by one, in order to communicate through and repair the primary interface. When He had repaired his disciples sufficiently, He gave them the Holy Spirit to do the same things and they went and personally did the work that Jesus was also doing. This, I believe, is what Jesus meant when just before He was about to die he prophesied,

12“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask mee anything in my name, I will do it.

John 14:12-14 English Standard Version

When Jesus re-established the people of God, it was a community of people who were doing exactly this. They were doing the same work and a greater work, by Jesus’ own estimation, of re-establishing peoples communion with God and with one another than Jesus was able to accomplish in his brief time with us. We began to fail this vision when we institutionalised the people of God and symbiotic organisations grew up and took over in the form of the church. We traded direct intersoul communication resulting in human flourishing for indirect flourishing. We considered that if flourishing is the direct end of all things then people don’t need to be communicated to, they need to see and hear and speak and eat and flourish in every way possible and in as efficient a way as possible. This resulted in a ‘sit down, shut up and listen to your Bible story, and then line up and get your gruel and sit back down’ message being communicated by the secondary interface. By neglecting to continue Jesus’ work of personally repairing the primary interface and establishing reconciliation with God and other people, we also neglect the work of seeking human flourishing.

Conditions for Flourishing

People do not flourish unless they are effectively communicating with God and with one another and this cannot happen unless we shed our secondary interfaces and communicate with people through the primary interface. People are the primary interface for intersoul communication. If I interact with anyone on the basis of my acting on behalf of anyone else or being over them in any capacity, be they my children, my employees or a public servant, and not as an interpersonal interaction, then I act upon them in an impersonal manner. If I am impersonal then I have communicated that it is better to forgo both my humanity and yours in the pursuit of our collective abstract flourishing than to take the time to repair the breach and temporarily sacrifice my own flourishing in pursuit of re-establishing communication with people as part of the primary interface. This will result in far greater and more widespread human flourishing than the impersonal seeking after collective flourishing via a secondary interface.

Communicate and Flourish

It is therefore my conclusion that it is not consistent with the Christian faith that we should seek flourishing through secondary interfacial institutions at the expense of our humanity, but rather that we should seek to re-establish the primary interface of soul to soul care and communication resulting in human flourishing according to Christ our example.

James 1 Lit Test

If our main individual pursuit and purpose in this life is to commune with God and with one another then we cannot effectively run after those pursuits if we continually outsource that responsibility to those we think can do a better, more efficient job. We will fail at both our own flourishing and the flourishing of others if we fail at personal intersoul communication. We will not effectively communicate our love and mercy nor the love and mercy of God if our foundations feed a billion people in the third world next year. This is not because God doesn’t want us to feed a billion people in the third world, but because we were not the ones to do it. We had a plan B. We didn’t give our last mite to do it, and ultimately those people are so far removed from us that we think we achieved our purpose when really we met a dead-end. World hunger would be over tomorrow if those who were hungry helped feed one another. The world is not divided into have and have nots, but into care and care-nots. If I gave up my flourishing in my food supply chain to help those around me who were hungry to eat then I would be doing the work of removing secondary interfaces and repairing the primary interface between myself and those I help feed and between them and God. I would learn their names and professions and call them to walk after me–not for the purpose of collectively filling our bellies and flourishing in that capacity but to learn to repair the communication lines between God and ourselves; that we would live as one with God and with one another as God is one with Himself.

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