by Tim Conder (guest speaker from Emmaus Way, Durham, http://emmausway.net/)
How does our language and our culture impact what we think it means to follow God? In churches and faith communities, we tend to privilege “our beliefs” as part of the community identity and use them to include or exclude members of the community. But this is just a small fraction of our identity and can skew our perception of people not in our community.
As James stated, faith without deeds is worthless and deeds without faith is also worthless. So what we do in response to our beliefs is also a big part of our identity. We all have personal struggles as part of life and we bring a history of our struggles as part of our identity to any group we join. Finally, our local “spaces” (e.g. where we live, work, meet, worship, etc…) are both expressions of and great influences on our identity.
These all matter and will constantly and slowly change our identity, which it is why it is important to continue to “explore” our identities, both individually and as groups.