Maintaining this identity theme I've been chewing on, I wonder about the self, or how we behave, in certain groups. I think of all the times I flitted from one Christian group to another, making the necessary adjustments along the way, attempting to assimilate.
In other words, in the simplest terms, that most Christians can agree with, I am a Christian.
However. We Christians can be like a world of middle school girls: clique-alicious.
I have theologically conservative Christian friends and theologically liberal Christian friends. Unsurprisingly, these folks tend to be polar on politics as well. I know moderately knowledgeable Christians and incredibly academic Christians. I know Calvinists, Anabaptists, Catholics and some others whose names I forget. I move among the groups that denounce gays and lesbians, and I move about the devout gays and lesbians. I have Christian friends who are all about the love. I have others who are all about the law. Some of my Christian friends have the wisdom of the ages, and others have this gorgeous simplicity that astounds me.
There are times I'm in groups where I must bite my tongue to the point of bleeding in order to maintain a modicum of decorum and peace. There are other times when I'm popping off like Papa Bear O'Reilly, loose and loud with the opinions.
So. You see where I'm going. How does a woman, finding her identity in Jesus and full of passion, talents, gifts and questions navigate her way through these crowds, crowds of alleged "sameness," and still remain herself? And by "herself," I mean the "she" God made and mandated. The "she" God crafted with his intense attention to detail, with all her conflicting humanity boiling over inside.
And the larger question would be, how do we, as believers, navigate "the other?" The challenge is to be a group of believers willing to explore, to expand, and to find the smallest common denominator and work from there. Moreover, how do we love "the other" in the mess, in the polarization of politics, in the heat of theological debate? Do we honor the uniqueness of God in our treatment of "the other?"
Again: I don't know. Do you?