Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who are you?

Did some thinking last week about this question.  Who are you?

1. A lot of who you are is who others think you are.
Whether we like it or not, a good deal of who we are is a matter of who others think we are.  It is real because it has real consequences.
  • What others think of me (perception is a reality)
  • What I think of myself (whether my self-perception is "accurate" or not)
  • What God thinks of me - P.S. This is who I truly am and it no doubt includes all the complexity of this post and more. At root, he considers me to be created in his image, which makes me immensely valuable. 
2. A lot of who we are is determined, outside our control.
  • We are more than animals, but we are animals. We have drives and urges. Much of what we call our sinful nature relates to our animal drives gone amok.  
  • groups I didn't choose - A person does not generally choose to be Irish or female, yet these group memberships are part of our default identity.
  • default self-concept - By default, we start with a sense of ourselves that intrinsically relates to our genetics and environment
3. In Western culture, we especially consider identity a matter of what we are by choice.
  • self-concept by choice (who we decide to be, despite our default self-concept)
  • decision for/against God (and what God does to me in response) - From a Christian perspective, this aspect of my choice is most determinative of who I am, not least because God changes us in response to our choice for him.
  • my choices, actions, patterns of behavior - These relate to the previous one.  Probably more than any other factor, our choices in the face of all the forces around us indicate who we are. They are embodiments of the attitudes we choose to embrace.

1 comment:

Susan Moore said...

I guess I'm a Catholic Wesleyan, then (or a Wesleyan Catholic?). :-)
You know, animals may be offended by what you implied about their nature, if I understood you correctly. God made them all to eat plants according to Gen. 1:30. There were no carnivores until after the fall. Yup, no violence until the thorns and thistles appeared.
In the new creation there will again be peace between animals and humans. Can't wait!