In God’s Image: The Dignity of All People
In God’s Image: The Dignity of All People
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
Essential to the fulfillment of our mission is the fundamental reality that our learners, parents, faculty, and staff are not accidents of random mutations and natural selection—as is taught in public schools and universities and throughout popular media—but rather that all people are made with utmost dignity by the sovereign Creator in his very image. Therefore, all have built-in purpose provided not by themselves but rather by God. The human’s dignity and consequent unique place in the universe have powerful implications for how we partner together at Capstone.
This dignity that each Capstone member has is derived from the dignity of God himself. He is worthy of honor and respect, and our worthiness is derived from his image, which was imprinted upon us at our conception. Human dignity is therefore inseparable from God and demands that we strive to live our lives as our Creator intended. He bestows dignity, and it is honored by living lives of deference to the impression of his image upon us. Human dignity is not self-aggrandizement. Consequently, treating learners with dignity must not mean affirming any and all conceptions they have of themselves, as if being true to themselves was paramount or as if personal authenticity was the highest good. Instead, we must teach one another to live lives that imitate God (Eph. 5:1) and to strive for perfection (Matt. 5:48), which Jesus defines as love for enemies and prayer for those who persecute us. Dignity demands that we treat all people as if they have all of the rights and privileges of God’s image-bearers—but more significantly, as if they have all of the responsibilities of having been gifted such dignity by a God who does so with the reasonable expectation that we will see to reflect his character and his purposes in our lives to his glory and to the benefit of our neighbors. This is why we bear his image.
At Capstone, how teachers, parents, and students treat one another is of supreme importance. I often tell parents that the foundation for learning in school is emotional safety. Even more than our learners need a good breakfast and lunch and a comfortable classroom temperature, they need to know that they matter to God, to their teachers, and to their peers. The optimum posture for learning is one of humility—a readiness to admit what one does not know and to happily receive correction. This posture is encouraged when one feels safe in the hands of one’s teacher and peers. When the school culture is marked by pride, sarcasm, ridicule, and disregard for individuals, learners retreat within themselves, hoping to go unnoticed, or become cruel and disrespectful themselves in order to receive the approval or protection of their peers.
And make no mistake, my friends. There will be times when such vices mar our experience at Capstone. Our school is not a utopian community, but by the grace of God through a submissive posture before him, our school culture will overcome our failings and will be characterized by love of God and neighbor, and by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, purity, truthfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22; 2 Cor. 6:6-7). Each learner will be free to serve, learn, and grow without fear or coercion. They will try hard things without fear of failure. They will admit when they are struggling academically, socially, or spiritually. They will confess sin and confusion and seek restoration and wisdom. They will tell an adult when something harmful is happening or when someone is compromising the integrity of the school community. Most importantly, from their experience they will begin to believe that there is a savior who can see their feebleness, insufficiency, and failure to live as one made in God’s image, and will trust in him to restore and polish up his image within them by his grace.
We leave you with this quote from Capstone’s Employee Faith Perspective and Covenant:
“Whatever else we teach them [our students], however highly educated our students may be according to conventional standards, the highest calling is to have the mind of Christ, the God who emptied himself and took the form of a servant. Fargo-Moorhead is growing more and more diverse, and as we strive to build a school that is representative of our community, Capstone will be an ideal environment for students to learn how to express their faith cross-culturally and to build friendships that bridge socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries–the very skills and attitudes that they will need in order to thrive in a globally connected world. Capstone believes that God is powerfully present and at work in Fargo-Moorhead. We wish to be a part of his work, and are committed to serving our community to the glory of God” and for the joy of all of his image-bearers.