This is a topic I have thought and spoken about quite a bit, but have not written about. It was Matthew Ryan at the New Hampshire Streams Internship who generated the sense that I ought to do so.
I am not of a Reformed persuasion, and probably never will be. Yet, I do believe that there is a deep depravity evident in the activity of humanity, and as we simply peruse the adventures of history we find some unbelievably dark moments.
On the other hand, I also find great sources of inspiration and encouragement in history. To match the Hitlers and Dahlmers of the past, I also see Nightingales and Gandhis. Nobility pops its head to the surface in remarkable ways every generation.
To complicate matters both Christians (those who declare their allegiance to being conformed to the imago dei), and non-Christians (who may not follow an example set by religious precepts and God inspired constraints) appear to exemplify both enlightened nobility and dark depravity.
This theological anthropology is extremely valuable to me. It informs my sense of evangelical mission. It teaches me to respect, and honor all people, and yet to be aware that every person still carries the potential to create great harm. I am at once called to be trusting, and yet not too trusting in the resources of other frail and faulty human beings. It also causes me to be self reflecting in a practical manner. I am at once responsible to put the noble foot forward, and at all times must resist the subtle and intelligent designs of my darker side.