I have never liked labels.
Liberal Christian, evangelical Christian, fundamentalist Christian, mainline Christian. Why not just plain Christian?
Open and affirming church, just peace church, Bible-believing church, Spirit-filled church. Why not just plain church?
Labels are used to divide, not to unite. When I label someone else, I put them into a box. I don’t need to pay close attention anymore to what they say or do, because I have already defined them. I already know who they are and what they are like. When I label myself, I use that label to set myself apart. I am a liberal Christian, not one of “those” evangelicals. We are an open and affirming church, not one of “those” unwelcoming churches.
Names are helpful, because they convey identity. When I call myself a Christian, you know that my relationship with Jesus is essential to who I am. Beyond that, I don’t need any label, because I reveal to you by my words and by my actions what that relationship with Jesus means to me. You will have to watch and to listen to know who I am!
Names are helpful, but labels are not. Labels inhibit and damage relationship. Show me who you are! Don’t just tell me your “label.” I am ready to listen …