Thursday, June 02, 2005

A New Label to Consider

In this complex world in which we live, many of us find "labeling" others as a way to categorize people quickly, in order to respond appropriately. The problem with such labels is that it is a form of stereotyping. Few folks fit so neatly into any box in which we attempt to place them.

But, since labeling seems to be an unavoidable reaction to our attempts to navigate through an overwhelming onslaught of diverse encounters, maybe it's time to pick our own labels, rather than allow others to choose them for us. Here's one rather creative suggestion from The Christian Century;

...Is there an alternative to the vague liberal and anachronistic mainline? We have a suggestion: Christian humanism. Or, if you will, Protestant humanism.

Humanism captures liberal Protestantism’s emphasis on intellectual exploration, on doing theology in conversation with other modes of knowledge. Since the Renaissance, humanism has designated a movement that takes learning seriously and celebrates the ability of scientists, poets and historians to expand knowledge and shape the world. Christian specifies that this appreciation of human freedom and potential is not ungrounded or unlimited, and that human identity is not simply whatever humans want it to be. As creatures of God, humans are most truly themselves when fulfilling divine purposes. And it is “in Christ,” the divine and human one, that we learn what it means to be fully human...

...In recent decades Christian and humanism have been placed in opposition, which makes this an especially good time to put them together. Christian humanism reaches toward the catholic tradition of the church, but it also has the virtue of unpredictability, of genuine openness. So the next time someone asks if you are liberal or conservative, mainline or evangelical, try saying, “I’m a Christian humanist.”
Hmmm..."Christian Humanist"...I think I like it. Of course, when compared to the various other labels I tend to attract (apostate, revisionist, pinko commie, spawn of Satan, etc.), almost anything else sounds good.


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