Monday, August 08, 2011

Labels

Why do we have to have so many labels?  If you were to pick just one for yourself, what would it be?

Conservative? Liberal?
Republican? Democrat?
Labor? Management?
Straight? Gay?
Black? White?
Fat? Skinny?
US citizen? Immigrant? Illegal alien?
Christian? Muslim? Atheist? Indifferent?

Even within labels, there are labels.

Within Christianity there are labels (and a multitude of denominations within each of those).
You might be an Evangelical or a Reformer. You can can be conservative or progressive. You can be a main-liner or ... I don't know, somebody that's not a main-liner. You can be a Catholic and some of my Evangelical friends would say that you're not even really a Christian.

Brian McLaren has some thoughts on some of the differences here.

If I was going to pick one label that I would want for people to tag me with, I think I would want to be known as a disciple of Jesus. I don't like the labels within Christianity.  And I don't want to be defined by them.  While I belong to a Southern Baptist Church, I didn't grow up as a Southern Baptist and don't have the deep seated convictions and heritage that seem to be so very important to a couple of generations of Southern Baptists.  To some, it seems to be equally as important to be Southern Baptist as it does to be a Christian (and I think that the same can be said for many Catholics about Catholicism).  I can't honestly say that I'm an Arminian or a Calvinist because I've never really studied their theologies enough to lay claim to one or the other.

I would simply want to be known as one the studies the life and teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately, I haven't done a very good job of it and probably don't deserve such a label.

At the end of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus gives a command to His disciples. Part of that command is "...teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..."

So, I'm wondering:  How are we supposed to teach others to obey His commands if we don't know what He has commanded?  Or more to the point:  How am I supposed to teach others to obey His commands if I don't know what He has commanded?

My new project is to read through the Gospels and note all of the commands of Jesus -- in order to live them out in my life, as well as to be able to teach to others. It's more time consuming that I thought it would be and I need to find a more efficient way of noting the commands.

What's your label?  How do you want to be known? And what will you have to do to be known that way?

John <><

Btw, after being stuck at -12 to 15 lbs for a week, I decided to take a week off and regroup. I've put a couple of pounds back on and will post on Tuesday morning (5 weeks from my start). 



3 comments:

Mike said...

You forgot labels - normal/not normal

A Peculiar Person said...

Amen! Great post, I couldn't agree with you more. It's so true that as Believers we fall into the traps of defining ourselves by what makes us different - as if that was the important thing!
~ Paula

Śīrṣabindu.Tenchou said...

Yeah! That's also what i've been thinking, why should there be any groupings at all. we should not be defined by anything we have just created. We are defined by the grace we have received.