You have heard it said, “It’s not about you.” I appreciate this popular attack against anthropocentrism, inasmuch as it goes against the narcissistic individualism of American religion. Since the enemy of my enemy is my friend, I should put my weight behind it. But I am reluctant to do so. Why? Because it doesn’t go far enough.
The initial problem is that it is only a negation. Avoiding anthropocentrism doesn’t really accomplish much. Negating the self is easy. There’s nothing peculiarly Christian about that. Thus it tells what the faith is not about. But what is the faith about? It might as well be about a dog, for as long as it is not me, the formula is satisfied.
Of course, one ought to give the benefit of the doubt that the affirmation is implied by the negation. It’s not about you, because it’s all about God. But even as an implication, the formula stills does not succed in centering our faith on God. By focusing on the negation, it remains firmly planted on anthropocentric soil. Theocentrism is here only accomplished by the negation of the human, and thus God is still just an extension of humanity. One still starts with the self and then seeks to reach beyond oneself by negating the self. Such is the same old cul-de-sac of false humility in which we have been caught for years.
The apparent solution is to simply focus on the affirmation: “It’s all about God.” The advantage here is that the negation is implied: if it is all about God, than it can’t be all about me, or you, or anything else. The problem with this solution is that one wonders whether this egotistical God is really the God of Christianity. Does the reality of God by definition overpower the reality of humanity? Does the acknowledgement of God require the disenfranchisement of the human? Are God and humanity really in competition with each other? No! For us and for our salvation, God became human. A phrase like “it’s all about God” veils this act. So just as “it’s not about me” remains stuck in an anthropocentric circle, “it’s all about God” stately baldly leads to a theocentrism that excludes the central humanizing activity of God. It seems in either case we are required to choose between God and humanity.
The real alternative is to proclaim that “It’s all about God, and God is all about us.” A Christian theocentrism that is truly centered on the Christian God must also affirm a modified anthropocentrism. We do not need to help God out by hating humanity. We just need to point to God’s own love for humanity. In light of the incarnation, we can trust that our affirmation of God does not exclude but rather includes an affirmation of humanity. And who better to lift humanity to its intended heights than the very God who created us?
So in a way it is about me, but only because this God is all about us, and that "us" includes "me" in a real and genuine way.