Spiritual Life and Leadership

165. The Value of a Low Anthropology, with David Zahl, author of Low Anthropology

May 23, 2023 Markus Watson
Spiritual Life and Leadership
165. The Value of a Low Anthropology, with David Zahl, author of Low Anthropology
Show Notes

David Zahl is founder and director of Mockingbird Ministries and the author of Low Anthropology: The Unlikely Key to a Gracious View of Others (and Yourself).

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that people are not always going to look out for what’s best for one another--or for me.  In fact, sometimes people are going to outright try to tear each other down. 

But our expectation is often that people would be good--an expectation that David Zahl says is rooted in a high anthropology.

But maybe what we need is a low anthropology—a way of understanding humanity as being essentially limited and broken and focused on their own good.

That sounds depressing. But David Zahl makes the case that a low anthropology actually helps us lead in a way that is more gracious and brings about more healing for people who are broken—including ourselves.


THIS EPISODES'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • David Zahl is founder and director of Mockingbird Ministries and the author of Low Anthropology: The Unlikely Key to a Gracious View of Others (and Yourself).
  • One’s anthropology refers essentially to one’s view of human nature.
  • According to David Zahl, a high anthropology views human beings as prone to doing great things and bringing about positive transformation.  Low anthropology views humanity as inherently limited, compromised, and is perhaps a more sober view of humanity.
  • A high anthropology tends to breed a sense of entitlement in people.
  • A low anthropology puts everyone on a level playing field.  We are all broken.
  • David Zahl believes a low anthropology is a doorway to talking about grace.
  • The three pillars of a low anthropology are:
    • Limitation – There is a God and it’s not you.
    • Doubleness – We are a bundle of competing motivations.
    • Self-centeredness – We often want what’s bad for us or what comes at a cost for other people.
  • David Zahl reflects on the ways that limitation, doubleness, and self-centeredness are experienced in churches.
  • Ultimately, a low anthropology is a biblical anthropology.
  • A low anthropology, according to David Zahl, says that people are fundamentally in need of help from other people and from God.
  • A low anthropology allows us to encourage people in their giftings.
  • A low anthropology goes hand in hand with a high Christology.



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