Selfhood across the ages

I was very much looking forward to the first of the Sydney University Evening Sessions this year, on the topic of “Selfhood across the ages” and held on Monday 3 June, and it did not fail to provide encouraging fellowship, stimulating talks, and worthwhile reflections on and beyond the self.  The evening started with Andrew Cooper (Philosophy) speaking on the classical tragedy of Antigone, which pointed to the serious consequences of not recognising the errors of our ways and the limits of human wisdom. We were challenged to adopt an attitude of humility, especially in positions of Christian leadership, continually looking to God for wisdom.  Following this, Brad Wells (English) discussed Charles Williams’ egalitarian hierarchy as exemplified in the TV series, The West Wing, highlighting the dual identity struggle of a fallible human as head of state. In all this, there are implicit yearnings for a greater utopian government and King, to which we look to the Kingdom of God and the headship of Christ.  Finally, Rosie Findlay (Performance Studies) spoke on the construction of self in fashion style blogs. While demonstrating an appreciation for aesthetic self-expression, our ultimate identity is to be found in Christ and our ‘self’ is to be beautifully shaped by the Holy Spirit.  At the evening’s close, I was appreciative of how all these diverse ‘secular’ works help us to reflect upon the idea of selfhood (especially on its limitations), and point to our identity in God (which offers so much more!).