I wrote this in response to a post on
In response to your last paragraph, I think this is where the punch is. Again, it’s not a matter of “my team/tribe has this all right, while yours has it all wrong,” as I think it’s just a human thing. When I did my NLP Practitioner Training, many years ago, we talked about meta-patterns, which are just basic ways that people work. Some people move toward what they want, while others move away from what they don’t want. It’s a subtle, but fundamental difference, and, like all dichotomies, it is false when taken too far — we all do some of both, but we will tend to fall on one side more than the other.
But it’s something we have some choice about, if the choice is presented to us so we know we have it. We can choose to build more of what we want, or to try to tear down what we don’t want. We can try to sustain what we hope for, or to run from what we fear. This doesn’t mean that we can just up and choose the positive over the negative every time — if we don’t run from some of the things we fear under certain conditions, we don’t survive to pursue our hopes anymore — but it’s something we can reflect on from time to time, and find ways that we can lean more toward the positive and away from the negative.
Putting on the Christian identity does not make one a Christian in any substantive way on its own — it’s in choosing and walking the Christian path that one comes closer to the proclaimed Master and joins the fold of the Good Shepherd. That path is strait (note the lack of “gh”) and narrow, and few there be that find it. But those who continually seek it will find it, and those who ask will receive, and those who knock will be opened unto. It’s not something that is done in a moment — it’s something that is grown into, or planted and nourished until it grows within us and transforms us. It’s like dew, that distills so subtly that you don’t notice it’s coming until it’s there.
I’m a fan of a Christian life, rather than a Christian identity. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s a lot easier to put on the latter than to live the former, and not a few will stop once they’ve done the latter and think that they’re done. A life-Christian will strive to love all, especially their enemies, while a identity-Christian will berate them for having not been saved. Being saved in an instant by cheap grace, and then being able to sin however one wishes and put it on the Jesus account is a mockery of the Christian message, and it is far too popular within the Christian Church.
It’s not the Christianity that’s the problem, and you can replace the name of almost any team or tribe or party or -ism where I said “Christianity.” The problem is always going to be more in the building of the positive values and living into them than it is in taking the name and doing it for show.