what’s my name

July 6, 2016

binoculars

I think in the years we’ve done this devotional site we’ve only had one other guest writer. this topic is so important to today’s Christian there was no way not to share.

The Modern Identity Crisis (an excerpt from Josh Dallas)

This is to get you thinking about labels and the deeper impact words have on us.

In this age of recovery-oriented identities, people adopt  labels describing problems. (“My name’sBarbara;I’m an  alcoholic.” “My name’s Lee; I’m a sex addict”) Unquestionably,  there’s value in being honest about an area of weakness, so  James tells us to confess our faults one to another (James 5:16),  and Paul declared he kept a close watch on himself to avoid  anything that might compromise his calling(1Cor. 9:27).But is  it wise (much less, biblical) to categorize (indentify) ourselves by a sinful tendency? Under what circumstances should we acknowledge  those tendencies? And should the terms we apply to them ever  be positive?

Nowhere are these questions more relevant to the  modem church than in the area of sexuality. As the culture  shifts toward condoning behaviors it once condemned,  so does its language. Adultery has been rechristened  “polyamory,” a promiscuous male is now “a player” or  “a stud,” and sex-change operations have morphed into  “gender confirmation surgery.” We may frown on society  refraining immorality in positive terms, but we should weep  when believers do the same.

I hope we’d view any person as nothing less than a faithful disciple, persevering (as we all do) in the age-old struggle between the flesh and the spirit (Gal. 5:17). But when desires of the flesh become a primary identifying characteristic, and referred to in positive terms, much as one might refer to race or nationality, then shouldn’t red flags be raised? Thankfully, as of this writing, few if any Christians use words like boy lover, polyamory, or player. But while accurate terminology for child molestation, adultery, and promiscuity is intact within church circles, the term gay Christian is coming into more frequent use.

So by using the term gay Christian, growing numbers of believers impose a positive slant on what Scripture refers to only in the negative. And when we adopt linguistic affirmatives for what are, in fact, biblical prohibitions, can positive re-identification of other sins be far behind? As the late Francis Schaeffer noted, “Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying seven years fromnow.” (I believe the time lag is now a month in some circumstances.)

Within the body of Christ, we’re all wrestling  with some kind of sinful tendency. We assume that about  each other without, knowing, or needing to know, the actual  temptations of someone next to us in the pew. The fact we’re  sinners is no dark secret; we all struggle, we all know it. That  “something” may be a common tendency or an uncommon  one, one we all share, or one only a few of us can relate to. The  general struggle is universal; the specific type hardly matters.  But when it does matter—when a Christian who  experiences same-sex desires chooses for whatever reason to  acknowledge them—the way they’re acknowledged matters as  well. That, too, is where the term gay Christian is problematic.

 On the one hand, an area of weakness is no cause for shame,  since we all experience cravings for what we know to be  wrong, desires in conflict with our beliefs but strong and  persistent regardless. By and large, while we do pay attention  to them, we don’t beat ourselves up over them. But we don’t  refer to them with flattering lingo, either. We don’t call them  gay, which implies they’re happy, cheerful things. Nor do  we consider them morally neutral as we would consider our  nationality or our sex. They’re neither good nor neutral, but  regrettable, a reality of life in this fallen world from which we  look forward to being finally and permanently freed when our mortal bodies put on immortality, and sin is once and forever  swallowed up (1 Cor. 15:53-54).  The term gay Christian labels when labelling seems  uncalled for. Having dealt with the issue myself, and having  had the privilege of walking alongside many Christian men  and women who have done the same, I’m more convinced  than ever that homosexual is a word best used as an adjective,  (“I experience homosexual temptations”) rather than a noun (“I am a homosexual”). The result of the latter usage is labeling and limitation. The former offers a broader, more  biblical self-view.

 And when the gay Christian label is applied, labelling enhances legitimization. I’ve seen many believers with homosexual temptations begin refraining from those temptations,  in their minds and conversations, categorizing them from sinful urges to primary identifiers, making it all that much easier eventually to default to them. This is why the words of one Christian woman dealing with her own homosexuality are so apt:

I found for myself that moving past gay identity was essential  for living stably and contentedly according to my beliefs as  a same-sex attracted Christian woman….Abandoning gay  identity doesn’t mean being in denial. It doesn’t mean “naming  it and claiming it, “proclaiming that you’re “healed,” that  you’re totally straight and happily heterosexual, while you’re  still homosexually attracted. What it means is radically  altering the role that the fact of your homosexual attractions  plays in your thinking about your self and your life.

 Whatever our unique struggles, we could do worse than to  take a cue from her, remembering that the way we frame our  experience directs our response to it. “As a man thinks in his  heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7NKJV).

Think on this, scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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