In writing Deliver Us from Me-Ville I took great encouragement from Dietrich Bonhoeffer´s description of Christ as pro-me. It´s a nice foundation on which to build a critique of self-absorption: Jesus is for us enough to become us and join with us, then separate our sin from us and die for us, then resurrect to us and go on ahead of us to prepare a place for us.
How are we best supposed to function? Can we peer throough the mystery into God’s heart? Zimmerman takes readers on a guided tour through Scripture to show how God has changed people who thought it was all about them. Throughout the book he shares practical steps to help us take the focus off of our ‘false self’ and onto others, as a lens pointing to God as subtext and context of a grounded self-with-others.
Here’s a great video intro of the book, by Zimmerman. In it he tells the story of how he married his niece – oh my!
I have in the last few years come to realize that sometimes even focusing on others is for selfish reasons. Though others may benefit, the person who is “loving” for selfish reasons is still bereft of the true benefit.
I think the true self is the new creature living fully from a conscience tuned sharply to the in-dwelling Presence of God.
Such a one, who then learns to exercise the will in obedience to that Presence, becomes the fullest expression of an individual identity living from the purest motivations.
Beautifully in God’s plan, such a condition cannot be discovered either alone or by group association. It must be found by moments alone in the prayer closet balanced by living within a community of believers.