The past couple weeks have offered us a lot to think about in terms of what it means to be Christians in a turbulent world.  Those who study such things talk about continuous change and discontinuous change—the former being situations that shift in predictable ways, the latter defined by its essential unpredictability.  Sociologists have identified the time we live in as one distinguished by discontinuous change, and the recent societal response to the coronavirus is textbook discontinuous.  The phrase “unprecedented” is getting a little shopworn with overuse.  But the reality is that we’re in uncharted waters, and the shore is far from sight.

I had intended to offer you the final installment of Dr Matt Bloom’s work on flourishing in communities that care for each other, but I believe Dr Bloom will have to wait.  At the risk of adding one more communication to the pile we’re all buried in, I want to talk about our current situation as we face the spread of the Coronavirus.

Looking at ourselves with sober judgement demands a measure of integrity and honesty.  It would be wrong to read Paul’s words as condemning a positive self-image—he is clearly stating that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, or overly inflating our self-image beyond an honest assessment of our strengths and weaknesses.  Dr Bloom describes a person with self-integrity as one who knows themselves with sober judgement, and when we are a child of God, that sober judgement should tell us that we are not junk—there is something about us that is good, and wholesome, and beneficial for not only ourselves but for others.  Obviously, these things are a gift from God, either placed inherently in us as a unique human creature, or poured upon us by the Spirit as we enter into life with Jesus as our Lord.  On the whole, self-integrity is knowing ourselves, our self-esteem and self-worth balanced in a sober understanding of who we are as God’s children, both good and bad.