Some Thoughts On Labels

Posted on January 12, 2010


Labels are interesting aren’t they? If we step back and observe, we can discover that just about everything we encounter has a label.

Food products are labeled based on nutritional value, rather it is organic or not, rather it is kosher or not.

Cars are labeled based off of emissions levels and gas usage.

Music, games and films are labeled as to what ages they are appropriate for.

but people….. people are labeled as well.

People have been labeled since the beginning of time. In fact God clearly labeled the first man as “Adam.” Then went on to give Adam the task of labeling all of the other creatures that roamed the earth.

Labels hold different connotation in today’s times. We have become so polarized today. Either you are right or you are left. You are Republican or you are Democrat. You are Conservative or you are Liberal. Then each side practically hates the other side for taking a stance that the other side deems to be the incorrect stance.

It is funny what labels can do. They can destroy families, they can kill friendships… hands down, they can ruin lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Rush Limbaugh could invite Keith Oberman over for dinner and they could find some common ground? Would it not be a great day if Glenn Beck could cry not because America is not what he wants it to be, but to truly cry because he is so disturbed at the great polarization in America?

Yet, labels do not strictly exist in politics. Christianity has its labels…

….tons of labels,

…more labels than I could actually name in this blog.

Recently, we had some of our dear family visiting with us. They are strictly Calvinist (another label) in their theological thought. That is fine and dandy, if that viewpoint works for you I say go for it.

This got me thinking about who I am and what I think.

I figured I was not Arminian (another label) because Arminians believe that one can fall from the grace of God and loose their salvation.

Then I knew for a fact that I was not Calvinistic either because I don’t believe salvation is based upon who God does or not elect. I believe that salvation is for all.

So this puts me in a very funny position doesn’t it?

I am faced with two labels that are complete opposites yet; neither one suits me.

I have come to the realization that labels cannot define an individual.

I always have tried to be “out of the box” and look at things from a different perspective. Yet, in doing that I was falling into labels such as emergent, emerging, baptist, baptimergent. Yet by being out of the box I was just jumping into a completely different box.

I go to a baptist church, I read works by emergent authors but neither one of those labels really define me.

I find that maybe avoiding any and all labels is the best idea. Sure, I have my political views but they are not the same of any one political party. I do follow Christ, but none of the typical labels that Christians hold seem to find me.

I am who I am. Just a guy named Jason who exists in a small town where he does his best to follow in the foot steps of a carpenter from Nazareth. It is time to strip away all the excess and make this year different.

Can you commit to a label free year? Can you commit to not be the reason for the over polarization in our world?