Who am I? And who do others think that I am? In our culture, our sense of self-identification is the end-all-be-all of human existence. We see it on the playground as kids, when other kids taunt other kids about who their parents are (or more importantly, who they are not). And, as we get older, who we think we are ends up becoming the greater story that we ultimately build our adult lives around. It’s also a narrative we often demand others submit themselves to.
In today’s podcast, I talk a good deal about our sense of self, and all the places we try to find it. And we find it in numerous of places. In everything from our parents, the music we listen to, the cars we drive, and even the sports teams we root for. We find our sense of self in our careers, the things we own, where we live, and our greater social status. I also talk about “sticky” issues related to identity, , such as our identification regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious and political affiliations.
Shakespeare might have been able to say, “To thine own self be true!” in Hamlet. But, as noble as an aspiration this might seem, I think we need to challenge this idea. Our sense of self can be a very dangerous thing. It can be a fragile thing that is easily broken by unforeseen changes in life, the ever shifting fads of society, and how those things can leave us in an existential crisis.
I also talk about how our sense of self can be weaponized, and serve as the grounds for factitious tribalism, by which we make war against others. And, ultimately, how our greater sense of self is at times a threat to the egalitarian ideals we claim to ultimately espouse as a society.
And finally, I talk about how we need to lose ourselves and the identities we tightly hold onto, and instead find our identity in who we are as Divine image bearers, as individuals created in the image and likeness of God, and the renewal that is available in Christ, who is all, and in all (Colossians 3:10-11).