Monday, February 6, 2012

Identity Crisis

There's a TON of talk these days about masculinity in the church, in faith, heck, even the very nature of God. I get it - it's a response to men leaving the church in droves. But I see a HUGE flaw in this conversation. First of all is the tone. It's unhealthy, cocksure (pun fully intended), and segments the nature and character of God into a black and white mold, that I don't find helpful; and is actually untrue about God. For centuries, you couldn't utter the name of G-D, much less define him. But alas, its 2012, and we've figured God out.

Some of the same authors and thinkers that have propped up the sovereign God, are now painting God into a definable box. That leaves me a bit perplexed.

My reservations about this recent movement is that its a matter of identity. The same camp that is touting an uber-masculine God names homosexuality as a sin; that it's a sin because of identity. One's sexuality becomes their identity, rather than Christ. The argument usually goes like this:

"You can't be both Christian and homosexual"
"The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin"
"You can't be vegan and eat meat" (I know its a lame example, but I didn't coin it)
"Thus, Christianity and homosexuality don't mix"
"You'll go to hell...the scripture says it, and who am I to argue with scripture...I didn't write it, I'm just the mailman" (again, I know its a lame example, but I didn't coin that one either)

Now, if its truly a matter of identity, how is replacing your sexual preference (as identity) any different than being identified by being "man?" At the end of the day, its the same identity crisis.

But that's what you get when you pick and choose scriptures to prop up your doctrine of faith and make it resonate to your cohort of followers. Either the Bible told the truth, or its a lie. But when it says, "because of my death and resurrection, there's no Jew or Greek, male or female, free or slave, etc..." how do we respond (Galatians 3:28)?

I think in that moment, all issues of identity changed (or at least should have). I struggle with my identity as do most people. I'm defined by my jobs, relationships, status, emotions, etc. But I'm working through it in response to my true identity being in Jesus.

Anything short of that is a distraction and hurts the Church in the long run.

I hope this discussion will fade away (soon) and that the damage will be minimal; but the voices are loud and cocksure. The cohort likes the doctrine, and I'm worried about damage control.




michael j. kimpan said...

LOVE the pic. here's my contribution to the same discussion 'so manly.' via @michaeljkimpan

Kathryn said...

I agree 100% with you on the critiques of this cocksure conversation that you offer, which seem to be that it distorts/confines the nature of God and that it further contributes to heterosexist identity politics within Christianity. I'd also offer that his account is also just also terribly sexist. Sounds like we of the "counter-cohort" might also include problematizing Piper's limited and limiting gender binaries.