Whenever someone does something that causes me to SMH – shake my head or scratch my head – I usually call my friend and colleague Clifton to vent. The wisdom he often offers is dispatched in what has become a very familiar refrain. After I’m finished venting, he almost always says to me, “Dre, it all comes down to identity.”
He constantly reminds me of the importance of self-identity in shaping our impressions of the world. When we get to a point where we accept and are secure with who we are, then we can view ourselves and others through a consistent lens.
There is an individual identity and there are also group identities based upon things like race, nationality, culture, socioeconomics and of course religion. Group identity is the foundation for what is becoming the norm in American politics – identity politics.
As Christians, our identity should be less about “who” we are and more about whose we are.
Identity Politics is defined as a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.
While I can understand why we choose to do this politically, I don’t understand why we choose to do it spiritually.
As Christians, our identity should be less about who we are and more about whose we are.
As Christians we are members of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and because we love Him, we are called to work together for good and for His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I believe the Great Commandments encapsulate Christianity at its most irreducible essence. We are called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Mark 22:36-40)
This is the Culture of Christ.
What do you think?
As Christians, are we bound together as believers by the blood of Jesus?
Do we have more in common than what separates us?
How do we work concentrically — self, family and then community — toward ushering in the kingdom of God?
How do you see this being done?
What are the obstacles?
So it pains me to see how certain churches and ministries line up for social and political agendas and issues that are narrowly focused toward their own memberships — the so-called Christian Right and Christian Left, Prosperity Ministries and Liberation theologies — as opposed to working together in love for one another.
Even beyond the political agendas these Christian identities or ideologies can be more exclusive than inclusive when it comes to members and their willingness to work with and fellowship with others who aren’t like them.
Whether we realize it or not, we are one body and we need to find a way to at least try to work together as such.
I know this is much easier said than done. If it were easy, then we would all be doing it.
The Good News is we have the authority of God, the example in Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit to help us.
I often say that being a Christian is the hardest thing that you’ll ever do and if it’s not, you’re probably not doing it right.