Home » Posts tagged 'Eudaimonia'
Tag Archives: Eudaimonia
Possessing a vision of a kingdom is what makes us human, created in the image of God. That vision pulls us to a future and a hope, though often times our actions and habits in pursuit of the vision creates a distorted example of the kingdom of God. Our actions and attitudes, and the cultural habits and institutions that result, fail to realize the hope of a heavenly kingdom.
The university is one such institution, which was first established in Paris as an Academy alongside a cathedral church. Shortly thereafter, or perhaps simultaneously, the universities of Cambridge and Oxford emerged. Each of these institutions of higher learning were established for the purpose of teaching leaders who would in turn teach all people the good news of Jesus Christ and God’s ways in regard to culture, law, and the sciences.
Do you possess a love for students and university communities? Do you have a vision of human flourishing through the establishing and reforming of social institutions? Do you seek to fulfill the Great Commission through teaching and learning, seeking dialog and making disciples? This is not insignificant ministry. Today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders. The point I am making in this series on Desiring the Kingdom from James Smith’s book is that our vision of a kingdom, the issues of our hearts have great consequence. We will create a future according to that vision.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” In Mark 7:20-23, he continues:
“What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Examine for a moment what governs, shapes, and motivates your decisions and actions. Your vision for “the good life” moves you because it is what captures your imagination and your heart. We are not motivated primarily by what we think or believe; instead we are motivated by affective, sensible, and even aesthetic images of a future, a desire for a kingdom.
This vision captures our hearts, most often without our conscious choice. Think for a moment how many times you have driven home in your car lost in thought about family or work. Then, pulling into the driveway, you realize you didn’t make a conscious choice about which way to get home. This is how we live much of our lives. We get up day after day heading in a direction without giving it much thought. However, our hearts are captivated by a vision.
If you possess a love for university students and a vision for university missions, you may be surprised to learn that true discipleship, the kind that transforms and re-directs the heart, is not accomplished primarily in the lecture halls and formal educational methods. No, it is pictures of the good life which communicate powerfully to our hearts. These images are imparted through stories, legends, myths, plays, novels, and films, and not through dissertations, messages, or monographs. In addition, the disciple must step into the story to experience the joys and the pains of the heart that make the story, the vision of a kingdom, more vivid and more enduring.
We are all motivated toward a shared vision of the good life, human flourishing. We are not pushed or mobilized by beliefs; we are pulled by a telos, a vision of a future, a desire for a kingdom. With regard to the issues of the heart, we are not intellectually convinced, then muster the will-power to pursue what we ought. Instead we are attracted, at a precognition level, to a vision that has been painted for us in stories, myths, images, and icons. That attraction draws us, pulls us into action, and captivates us toward a vision of a future.
So then, it’s not primarily the minds of students in university that are captivated; it’s the imaginations that are hooked by very different visions that are fed into the mind.
This presents a very important question: What images, what vision of human flourishing is being presented to this generation of students in university?