Sunday, June 26, 2005

making labels.



Lately I've been thinking a lot about the idea of labeling. A friend and I were talking about "the emergent church" movement. I would probably fit quit well under this label but I hate it. To me it's created an un necessary distinction between the "modern" movement and the "emergent." When you label something you place it aside in a categorized box. You place it behind a screen filter that changes your perspective or understanding of what something says. If I place you in a "Christian" category will hear everything you say thinking and stereotyping the intentions and motives of your expressions. If people hear me giving a critique or an opinion about something and they think of me and have labeled me in the emergent church movement then everything I say can be written off in that category. When I speak or write I am only myself. Understand me as a real person. This labeling leaves room for distorted methods to be accepted among Christians. I've heard people defend methods that are cold, hard, uncompassionate, and oppressive by saying "well they have their way," or "whatever works for them." When someone yells from a street corner condemnation on those who do not accept Christ do not label it. If it does not fit comfortably under a label of love, compassion, justice, and grace it's not good and should be stopped. Don't excuse something by separating yourself from it. Mankind is all under the same label.

4 comments:

Ashley said...

Wes,

Good post. I agree with you. Just remember what we were all talking about at dinner the other night. It is not us whom label ourselves, but thoes around us. We cannot avoid the labeling. I think it is one of thoes unavoidable situations. Don't get me worong, I hate being labled too. It's sad to me that even as we talk about not wishing to be labled that someone is giving us a name tag of the ones whom don't want to be labled. I wish there was something we could do to stop it.

Monk-in-Training said...

Wes,
This labeling and Christians being jerks about it has been going on for quite some time.

In the fourth century, Athanasius, the great champion of faith in Christ as fully God, was Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt, and very well loved by the people.

About ten years after he died, the bishopric of Alexandria was bestowed on a man named Theophilus. He was a man of intense temperament, and ruthless and violent in the pursuit of what he thought was his duty. Basically a jerkwad. In 391 A.D., he went to the Goverenment (Thank God we have a religious freedom clause) and got the Emperor's consent to destroy pagan temples, as well as the monastaries of monks whose views differed from his own.

His feast day is on the Egyptian (Coptic) and the Syrian calendars of Saints, but not on most eastern or any western ones.

In the end, Theophilus has been considered unpleasant but orthodox (Right but Repulsive).

Stephanie said...

Great post!!! I have a similar post on my blog. I hate labels!!!!

Maryellen said...

I like the phrase "right but repulsive" I saw a blog today that almose fits that "label" only it is so repulsive that any rightness was totally blocked out.
You do good work Wes! Blessings