I have written a piece to open the latest conversation, on the subject of sexual identity, over on the Theopolis website.
There is a difference between a house and a home. A house is an architectural edifice, often one of several constructed according to the same plan. A home is a house that has been rendered a personal habitation, a unique realm of life, communion, and indwelling. In discussing matters of contemporary sexuality and gender, Christians have all too often been narrowly concerned to defend the edifice of Christian doctrine (indeed, many have contented themselves merely with the protection of the façade of the edifice, allowing much of the actual building to fall into decay). However, they have provided people with scant imaginative and practical resources by which to make it their own home, which is an acute challenge when that edifice must be built on the soil of contemporary West society. Yet this is the task that we must undertake.
In recent years, speaking in terms of a wider cultural preoccupation with identity, many evangelicals have spoken of the need for us to ‘find our identity in Christ.’ What form such a self-discovery in Christ might take, or how Christ might make practically possible the formation of an integrated self, is far from clear. While sounding—and being—good in principle, how such an idea is to be made flesh is seldom well elaborated. The resources for identity formation offered can often be principally ideological. Exemplars, templates for action, narratives, and communal practices can often be weak, leaving people largely forming identities with what is offered to them by their surrounding culture, somewhat chastened by their Christian beliefs.
Read the whole piece here.
Thanks for this piece. Your conclusions about where to go from here – developing a sacramental vision of Christian life and saving our imagination through an inhabiting of the types of Scripture – are thought provoking.
I appreciated this piece very much. It made me think of what Hannah Arendt wrote in *The Human Condition* in 1958: “Without being bound to the fulfillment of our promises we would never be able to keep an identity. We’d be condemned to wander helplessly without direction in the darkness of each person’s heart, caught in its contradictions and equivocalities.”
That is a great quotation!