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 …

One thought on “labels

  1. I am also a believer but it is so mixed up with everything I am and do that it doesn’t consciously lead me … though sometimes I am presented with situations that I must ask,”What would Jesus do?” I know we have heard that phrase so many times that it may have lost some of its “sharpness”… but believe me, when you have to ask that question and must act accordingly … that “clearness,” that “sharpness” returns one hundred fold. I am looking forward to being one of our church’s lay representatives to the Iowa Conference Annual Meeting in Grinnell this June. I am getting excited about being in the presences of so many believers … to experience the power and energy that is present when large numbers of believers gather. I first experienced this energy at the Evangelism conference in St. Paul. I believe this energy is God’s spirit. I remember Bob Sheridan and Lois Johnson couldn’t get over what we were experiencing … it almost took your breath away … I don’t think Believers have any idea of the power that they have to transform the world.

    Most of us take our believing for granted. We do not realize that our believing is the very essence of who we are. We are Children of God … made in his likeness … made to bring the world full circle back to Shalom.

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