Sunday, April 5, 2009

Various Thoughts on Identity

I have had numerous thoughts today on identity from different sources of "inspiration". The Theme of them all is unity and diversity.

Our American identity is formed around our freedoms to be different. The government for the most part, is to protect those freedoms so that we live in peace. While this is what is provided under the Constitution through our leaders pledge to uphold the values of the individual, lately, those individual values have been challenged. Just this morning I read an editorial about our government stepping in to settle disputes between conflicting parties. So, in effect, the management and leadership of a privately owned business cannot settle its disputes with employees through union leadership without government interference. This is a cumbersome way to protect the interests of "WHO"? The Common Good, as in socialism? The government's interest in a paternalistic determination of free persons salaries?

The other news story was about the African American that killed 4 police officiers and how the "black community" is suggesting that the crime happened because of the oppression of the "black population". It is the issue of minority rights. My son said to me that the terms "nigger", "chicano", or "wussie" was used not to label a certain ethnic group, but to describe certain attitudinal and lifestyle behaviors. Those who have attitudes that "life owes them something".

These labels, and the government's determination to intervene have to do with a "rights attitude". One has the rights attitude of market economics, while the other has the rights attitude from "bitter experiences".

Today's sermon was another thought sifter. Since it is Palm Sunday, it was on the Cross. The pastor preached on solidarity of identity with Jesus in our experience. Usually those in America, and the West in general, have not identified in this way as there life is not challenged in the ways in which Jesus' life was, as we are, for the most part, not persecuted, to the point of death. Nor is our government set up to disregard the "rule of law".

While sitting there, I was struggling with the image that this made about "god". God demands, takes, and undermines identity. We are to identified with Christ to the point of death and this is called discipleship. The pastor called it identity Theft.

Identity Theft means that someone has cheated, stollen, and killed someone of their identity. And this is what Christian faith is about? God is not the "giver", "gifter", and "blesser" of life and the "Giver of personal identity", but a demanding, jealous and deterministic God. And all of that is validated by Scripture and theology.

The pastor said that this was to be every Christian's identity, as we should all "be like Christ". That is the "ideal", but this is utter nonsense, when it comes to the real world. Otherwise, we would be telling those who suffer under various "evils" to accept our "lot in life" as "god's will" and "design". When others do wrong, then we are to serve them and allow evil to prevail (believeing in an afterlife, where God will meet out just desserts. But, this also meanswe must believe in a personal God and the afterlife, which not all believe.). This view is absurd and not workable unless all Christians are to be followers of whatever "leadership" is around.

The pastor called for submission. While submission is a positive trait for trustworthy leadership, it is co-dependent for untrustworthy leadership. This is the "call" for discernment, as "otherwise", this is where abused wives are told to submit to their husbands, as Scriptures demand. There is no simple choice, when it comes to living life in this world.

I find that personal identity must be strong enough to resist such tactics of subversion, while allowing another difference. The aforementioned killing of the police officiers was an identification of "victimhood". The government's determination of another's lifestyle is undermining to personal value and choice, which undermines diversity for unity. We can never seek unity first, without affirming diversity without discrimnating against someone. Affirming diversity first will lead to understanding difference, while also affirming commonality of human identification factors. This is an important way to approach life in this world today, where diversity has been used as a means of demand, without leading to understanding of difference....

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