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Thursday, January 7, 2010

What I'm reading today: Hebrews 10

I'm sure that most of those who read my blog regularly have not yet noticed one significant change I've made to my blog since I returned to writing on January 4. That change has to do with its name.

When I left off writing on Christmas Day, the blog was titled "Emergent Craig". When I returned last Monday, I re-named it "Outside the Boxes".

So why the change?

Well, for the vast majority of my life I gave in to societal pressures and affixed labels to myself. I thought labels were necessary in terms of relating to others.

Think about the role labels play in our life. When we meet someone new at a party, for instance, what do we ask? What they do for a living. Once we get the answer, we attach a label to the person (i.e. "teacher", "plumber", or "attorney"). When we make small talk with a co-worker over the newspaper in the cafeteria, what do we do? We spend time guaging their political affiliation via their response to the news and then attach a label to them like "Republican" or "Democrat". And when we chat with the new neighbor about their home, what do we do? We fish for information to help us figure out whether we should call the other person living in the house a "boyfriend/girlfriend" or "husband/wife". We often depend upon those labels to tell us what to think about others.

Two years ago after I spent my sabbatical studying a new movement within the church called the emergent/emerging church - I affixed yet another label to myself. I began calling myself emergent. I recently decided that I no longer felt comfortable labeling myself.

And why did I come to that conclusion? Did I have a bad experience with an emergent/emerging community and decide to leave the movement?

No. I simply decided that it was time for me to be honest with myself about the fact that I no longer am comfortable being labeled or categorized. When it comes to my faith, for instance, there are parts of me that are emergent/emerging, parts that are progressive, parts that are traditional, parts that are evangelical, parts that are liturgical, and parts that are missional. Any label I use for myself would fail to capture the fullness of my spiritual life. As a result, I decided it was time to rename my blog "Outside the Boxes" - since that is the one label that best captures my ecclectic approach.

As I move away from my use of most labels to define myself (I still find tremendous value in using the label Christian to describe myself), please know this: I leave behind most labels not as a way of attempting to cut short conversations like the ones I mentioned at the start of today's entry. Rather, I leave most labels behind as a way of inviting people into deeper conversation.

Til next time...


Court said...

Hey Craig! It was the first thing I noticed because the bookmark name changed on my computer. I thought that perhaps we all shift and grow and emerge into something new...thanks for the update! And although you don't know me, know that I read just about every day....from a fellow emerging Pastor in Corvallis oregon....

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