Low Anthropology: The Unlikely Key to a Gracious View of Others (and Yourself) With David Zahl
In this book discussion episode of the Share Life podcast, I'm speaking with David Zahl. David and I discuss his latest book, Low Anthropology: The Unlikely Key to a Gracious View of Others and Yourself.
David is the director of Mockingbird Ministries, an organization he founded in 2007. He is editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog and cohost of the Mockingcast podcast. David is also an author of multiple books and has written for Christianity Today and the Washington Post. He lives with his wife and three boys in Charlottesville, Virginia where he also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church.
"Many of us spend our days feeling like we're the only one with problems, while everyone else has their act together. But the sooner we realize that everyone struggles like we do, the sooner we can show grace to ourselves and others.
In Low Anthropology, popular author and theologian David Zahl explores how our ideas about human nature influence our expectations in friendship, work, marriage, and politics. We all go through life with an "anthropology"--an idea about what humans are like, our potentials and our limitations. A high anthropology--thinking optimistically about human nature--can breed perfectionism, anxiety, burnout, loneliness, and resentment. Meanwhile, Zahl invites readers into a biblically rooted and surprisingly life-giving low anthropology, which fosters hope, deep connection with others, lasting love, vulnerability, compassion, and happiness.
Zahl offers a liberating view of human nature, sin, and grace, showing why the good news of Christianity is both urgent and appealing. By embracing a more accurate view of human beings, readers will discover a true and lasting hope."
Conversation Starter Questions
High Anthropology. Elon Musk recently tweeted his ideas on how to stop Russia’s war on Ukraine. His suggestion came across as naive or high anthropology; as if the invasion was a misunderstanding that could be easily reconciled. So, what is high anthropology, what is its highest form, and is Musk a high Anthropologist?
Low Anthropology: On a previous episode of this podcast, a friend was discussing the church and he said that “he's yet to see a church board invite others to participate because it's really going to be painful.” In reflection of his comment, the mainstream person that came to mind as the one most helping us embrace low anthropology is Jordan Peterson who says things like, “if you can’t see yourself as a Nazi concentration camp guard, you don’t know yourself.” My difference with Peterson is that he does not go low enough in recognizing that we are destined to fail in our response without God’s direct intervention. I’d like you to explore these three ideas: the lack of low anthropology in the church, the power of low anthropology, and the limits of low anthropology without God.
Low Anthropology & the Resurrection: My biggest fear, which I faced head-on several years ago, was one of corruption: physically, mentally, and spiritually. I feared not only that I’d fall away from God, but that I’d become an active adversary. You state in your book that “a high anthropology maintains that we combat the aging process at all costs”. In my case, it was an effort to combat corruption at all costs, while failing miserably along the way. What was so transformative for me was to recognize that I had been an enemy of God and yet he still pursued and saved me. And if I fall away or become an enemy again, he’d pursue me again. In your book, you state that a “high anthropology transforms the church from a hospital for sinners into a schoolhouse or even Bootcamp for saints.” It seems, even as Christians, we’ve failed to accept the severity of the problem — and our active part in it. Instead of surrendering to this truth, we shore up our army and go on the attack. What’s going on here?
Watch or listen to our conversation below.
Connect With David Zahl
- Connect with David | Linkedin
- Get the Book >> Low Anthropology: The Unlikely Key to a Gracious View of Others (and Yourself) [affiliate] | Hardcover (Amazon) | Kindle (Amazon)
- Mockingbird | Website - MockingCast (flagship podcast) - MockingPulpit - TalkingBird - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter
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