Who am I? Who wants to know and who cares? I’m not really sure myself…
We walked up the stairs to the club where my son’s band played that night. A guy stood at the door checking ID’s. I walked up and said, “Would you card my wife? It would mean a lot to her.” He laughed but he took her word. ID’s might put a name with a face but they don’t always say much about who we are. And that’s a good thing. We can’t escape the thought that somebody’s knocking around inside our bones. Who is she/he? And just as we think we have a handle on this, the person inside us goes and changes. The current buzzword for this is “identity”.
Who am I? I mean really – not just what it takes to fit in with this group or that one or the face I wear to hide who I am or hide the fact that I don’t know myself. A young women penned her thoughts on imagining herself arriving at seventy-five. We are already working on that person right now whether we know it or not, whether we’re trying to or not. Our living now, intentional or unexamined, ripples out in front of us across the years ahead. Habits of mind, attitude and emotion set trajectories extending out into the decades of our future. So who I am now is important because we start there.
A lot of voices chip in with their idea of who we are. One is our past…but not our recent past. Graduating from high school takes care of that. Don’t see many high school athletic, music etc. jackets on campus. The freshman who comes home for Thanksgiving is a different person from the one who moved into a freshman dorm. The labels that stuck back there don’t count on campus. And that’s good for a lot of people who get the chance to become somebody new.
Material culture defines us on appearance alone. Jesus said, “…a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Unless, of course, we need the jazziest new smart phone, clothing with the cool labels, jewelry and accessories (with the right brands in evidence). And the brands keep changing! How does one keep up?
Work will have more clout in our lives after we graduate. For now, it’s what we do to survive and stay in school. But we certainly judge others now by what they do and not always by who they are.
Sexual identity has certainly stepped onto front state in our culture. But we miss the obvious. Through illness, accident and/or aging, sexuality may not only diminish; it may be gone one day. And if my identity was my sexuality and its free expression on my terms, then who will I be? Besides, am I not more than that?
Political correctness. When we all have to think alike to not only get along but to avoid being marginalized, we’re no longer human but have become clones. Whoever I am only counts if it lines up with whatever ideological trends have their moment of fame on the postmodern radar. As long as we always align our lives with the prevailing opinions of the herd, the herd will live our lives for us. We’ll get to the end of things only to discover that we never got to live our lives; we allowed others to do it.
Emotionally based esteem. “Feel” comes before “think”, not only alphabetically, but as our default drive wheels as we engage life. A dirty little secret – “self” is the real underlying spirituality of America (even for many who claim to follow Jesus). We surround ourselves with people who only tell us what we want to hear and/or believe about ourselves. We find our psychological center of gravity on social media. All of this stirs up into a heady mulch feeding the narcissism (pandemic self-centeredness on steroids) of our culture.
Who am I? Could God or anything He thinks provide a key to this? If we’ve been trying to piece this puzzle together all by ourselves, the trouble might be that we don’t have all the pieces. Maybe He does. Are we open to that? The next few posts will take a look. A few clarifications. I will be coming from a point of view that, without disrespecting other faiths, embraces Jesus’ own thoughts that He is the fullest expression of God the planet has had. I’m not interested in why a side of mashed potatoes deluged in brown gravy started quoting T.S. Eliot in a Bob Evans in Fort Wayne. Therefore, I will put some things in front of us that I maintain will be true and living in us whether we know it or not. Or at least they could be. I will also suggest some things we can look at on our own if something yanks our chain.
Got a question? I have answers. But if my answers don’t match your questions, I’ll make something up! Seriously, if we have questions about the following/knowing God thing, feel free to write at email@example.com. Any question. Any time. About anything. You don’t even have to include your name. I do reserve the right to reply with qualifying questions of my own so I can dignify your question with a decent and respectful answer.
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Please return your seat to the upright position and remember to hand the infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.