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« Battlestar Galactica Returns | Main | links for 2008-04-05 »

2008.04.04

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This seems like one of those trick questions that pastors ask nonchalantly during the week so that they can trap people into a wrong answer and then preach against the church-wide "identity crisis" on Sunday. Sorry--I know that's probably not how you are intending it at all. (My baggage from the past is rearing its ugly head...)

My identity is based first and foremost on the fact that I am loved by God. But, it is also impacted hugely by "roles" I play in life--mother, girlfriend, wife, ex-wife, teacher, friend, daughter, sister, neighbor, even acquaintance. These are not things I do, but who I am.

I have all but stopped measuring my identity by what I do (partly because I'm hitting middle age and rethinking this whole identity thing and mostly because I've always had an aversion to performance-based acceptance.)

In my opinion, which is open to persuasion from further insights, basing your identity on what you do is very precarious. What happens if you lose the ability to do it? What happens if you lose the venue to do it? What happens if someone else comes along and invents something which makes what you do no longer relevant or useful? The list could go on and on...

This is also what sticks in my craw about some churches. Some churches have "steeple envy" comparing what they do to what other churches do. The church-think seems to be this: carefully articulated and presented vision = collective identity = success. But I believe God's view of success might be different: redemption = transforming awareness of His love = unintentional and unstoppable outflow of love to others. The former is based on works; the latter is based on grace.

I don't know. I guess I feel like God paints us the way He wants. Then other people come along and muddy up the colors a bit or add a splotch here and there. And in the long run, it doesn't really matter what we look like. What matters is if we still reflect the initial brilliance of the master artist.

What do you think?

ha ha ha. You really don't know me if you think I'm trapping you into a Sunday School answer...

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