Acknowledging everyone is imago dei is a return to some observations about the garden.
The narrative pattern and rhythm of Gen 1-2 was God naming things, separating, and pronouncing them good. There is one “not good” thing and that is that Adam is alone. So God makes for Adam a mate. Interesting in the narrative is God’s invitation to Adam to name and separate the animals. The intimation seems to be that Adam is being invited into the very activities that had in the previous narrative been the domain of God alone.
One thing however Adam IS NOT invited to do and that is to pronounce things “good” or, for that matter, “not good.” In fact God is so concerned that Adam and Eve NOT make such pronouncements that he tells them to do whatever they want in the garden, to eat at any restaurant and order off any menu, except one….the tree of knowledge of good and not good (evil).
In other words God has reserved the pronouncement of good and not good, of judging between, of drawing boundary lines of in and out, the domain of God alone. It is not something humanity has been invited to share.
You know the story. Adam and Eve eat of the tree of good and not good and instantly become judgmental. Their first post meal actions are to hide and cover their differences apparently judging them to be “not good”.
From the garden forward in the narrative the story of humanity is the problems inherent in the drive to judge, exclude, divide, draw lines etc… The very next narrative is the Cain and Abel story debating whose sacrifice is good and whose is not good. Death ensues when they can’t agree.
The Old Testament is replete with stories laced by the judger propensity, as is the New. The dominant issue Jesus takes on with the Pharisees is their almost pathological drive to judge, divide and draw boundary markers for who is in and who is out. How much has the church really been cured of this deep infection?
This propensity to judge is precisely what puts us at odds with the world around us, and usually under the pretense of false holiness or DC (doctrinal correctness) Until we can return to the place where we see our commonality of being imago dei as far greater than our differences, we will always be barrier creating people.
Jesus prayed we would be one. And since the doctrinal constructs we are so often hell bent on maintaining weren’t in Jesus mind, then it wasn’t doctrinal ones he was praying for. I wonder if the oneness he was seeking had to do with the affirmations we could all make about are sameness.