…Jesus teaches his disciples in Mark 10 that they will be blessed when they forsake the comforts and securities normally associated with human flourishing. The Beatitudes look like a very indirect way to be ”˜blessed’. And Paul, and James, and John in Revelation””all the writers in the NT””assume as evident that suffering and hardship are the way to wholeness. Our faith, according to 1 Peter, is so precious that it is like gold refined by fire””which cannot feel very flourishing to the gold itself as it goes through the process.
The paradox is this: humans only flourish as God intends when human flourishing is the penultimate, but not the ultimate goal of human living, both in the ordering of obedience to God’s commands and the radical freedom in Christ which is strangely realised in and through this””that ultimate goal being the realisation of the kingdom of God. One of the challenges for the Church of England is whether it will stay faithful to this transcendent, rather than merely human and humanist, vision.