Humility is something of which one cannot have enough. It is directly connected to how we grow and develop because humility requires that we know our level of ability. Humility reminds us to be respectful. Humility is required to listen and engage with anybody. With these skills humility is able to cultivate the gifts God has given to each and every person to then turn and build the body.
As students all of these things that sprout from humility are not only important but vital to the purpose of being at school. At school we are consistently being introduced to thinkers and their ideas. Pride would have us accept what agrees with what we already hold to be true and reject that which causes confusion. On the contrary, humility would have us examine what is being said within itself and then be able to interact objectively. Since we are coming into contact with such a high volume of new thought, we are constantly presented with opportunities to either display humility or pride. Pride enables us to receive what we already have on the basis that we already have it; humility gives us the ability to receive more.
Certain professors and fellow students that we meet make it easy to be humble. Their authority on a certain subject or their grasp on a certain field is obvious, and it is easy to want what they have to offer. Other professors and students make it harder to be humble, whether they might not be as articulate or as clear in thought as one would hope. The humble mind should also be a discerning mind. It needs to be able to keep a critical eye on those we admire and find the value in those that we would easily dismiss. Humility, after all, is seeking to better everyone.
This seeking to strengthen the body of Christ is not permissive of falsity. In fact, humility is directly opposed to that which is untrue. Humility has been defined as “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”1 That would make pride, the direct opposite of humility, not honestly assessing ourselves in the light of God’s holiness or our sinfulness. At the core of pride is some level of deceit or belief in things that are not true. It is asserted that pride is what caused Adam and Eve to take of the fruit and Satan to think that he could take God’s throne. This would make humility adamantly opposed to falsity, thus the first to seek truth and align things rightly.
In doing this, however, humility recognizes that growth happens in everyone. The beginning of Romans 12 speaks of the renewing of one’s mind. Growth is a natural part in our development as human beings. This growth looks different in everyone, and it is not humility’s part to assume ability or disability but rather to aid wherever it finds a person. It seeks to encourage because it remembers where it once was, and it ever seeks to learn because it knows where it is.
This view of growth can be difficult to remember when there are standardized tests and a grading system that rates based on levels such as “average”, “above average”, or “below average”. There is a place for these, of course. These can aid humility in discovering its place in its immediate context, but humility reminds us of reality. Reality is that one can always learn and help others learn and that our ultimate goal of both is to glorify God by helping His church. Things such as grades and requirements helps us to recognize those who have worked and been shown approved by systems and help others know what they can do. Without this system, we would be forced to create another system to identify authority from those pretending to know. Humility recognizes that not all men are humble beings.
This is at the heart of Soma. I do not want to be redundant of Mr. Duff’s previous editor’s notes, but we called this publication—this collection of thought—“SOMA” to aid in the building of the body. We believe in the value of the thoughts of our peers and our professors as they relate practically to our lives in order to seek Christ-like sanctification. The desire is that the writers would not see being published in Soma as a mark of pride but as a way to aid in the development of the Christian community. Our hope for the reader is then to likewise engage humbly and be so moved to respond if he or she sees, within its binding, any falsity. SOMA is a forum, not a decree handed down to the public.
That being said, allow me to introduce to you the writers of the Winter 2012 issue of Soma. We have been able to persuade a wealth of new talent to bring you some fresh ideas. Calvin Peronto, a former MBI-Spokane student now studying at Moody-Chicago, has given us an article on the topic of sexuality as seen in Genesis. Jacob McCauley, also a former MBI-Spokane student now studying at Berkeley, wrote a treatise about the nature of “free thinking.” Our own Peter Elliot has written an article on a relevant logical issue that comes up in freshman theology students wrestling with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Among these writers we also have returning authors presenting their ideas before you. Sarah Spaur tackles the tricky topic of how our environment affects the way we pursue relationships. Rebecca Kauffman presents a piece on her spiritual development and how it relates to that of anyone going through a bible education. Fellow editor, Collin Duff returns from his hiatus as a feature writer to remind us of the power of times like Christmas. Finally, I have written my conclusive piece on how Frankenstein depicts the struggle of reconciliation.
With this, I humbly present the Winter 2012 volume of SOMA,
Samuel J. Keithley
1. Mahaney, Humility 22