Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What is your label?

Ever since my college undergraduate experience I have had to contemplate whether or not to proceed with any form of ordination or licensure as a "professional minister" [if such a person can even really exist (see next entry)]. Having earned my B.A. in Theology and being in process with my M.A. in Religion (Missional Leadership) I well exceed the educational "requirements/qualifications" to be a "licensed" minister in the Church of the Nazarene. There remains something unsettling, however, every time I consider officially affiliating myself with any given denomination. To an even greater degree I find it problematic to own a certificate labeling myself as a "minister" (once again, see next entry).
Why do we insist on methods of labeling and categorization?
Can we not be followers of Jesus / teachers of the way of Jesus without "credentials?"
Why do we adhere ourselves to certain denominational tribes?
What labels are healthy or unhealthy?
How do you label yourself?
How do others label you?
How do you label others?
Please leave your thoughts and check out the survey tool to the right.

18 comments:

j clark. said...

Why did God instruct Adam to name all the animals?

What credentials did the first disciples of Jesus have? Is their a difference in being a follower of jesus and someone who chooses to preaching their vocation?

didnt some guys named calvin, wesley, luther, etc..already hash this out a few years ago?

I am an engineer. I label everything. I make twenty-ish lists a day. I probably have an unhealthy obsession with both. However, it provides some sense stability, structure, and order to my otherwise somewhat chaotic daily routine.

far too often we judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intentions.


ps. i was serious about air.

John said...

The labels I prefer are dad, husband and friend. I also think it would be cool to be called Chef or maybe Captain.

PK said...

What about Ephesians 4:14?

Perhaps the title is a reflection of one's assumed knowlege and maturity in understanding the scriptures. Hopefully, it attests to the validity/reliablility of one's interpretation and sharing of the Word--especially to a stranger.

I view denominations as a way to give some sturcture and order within the Body. As such, a Nazarene may be an arm, a Catholic may be a leg, a Baptist may be a hand, etc. No one part or denomination is more important than the other.

This structure allows us to have universities, hospitals, missonaries,child care centers, schools, etc.

The key is for individuals within a denomination to remember that we all have the same savior.

Remember, "Christian is a noun."

Kristina said...

Isn't calling yourself a follower of Jesus considered a label? Do you feel that by accepting a label that someone else places on you or that you place on yourself limits your abilities to be effective in ministry in some way? If I were to label myself, I would say that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Is that a label?

Anonymous said...

I don't get me denomination a bit right now. I'm frustrated with them and wonder why I stay with them. Maybe I'm like a teenager with my parents right now, I stay because they are my family, not because I understand them in any shape or form. I would post my name, but I don't want to get into any hot water with them. ie. I don't want to get grounded.

tom joad said...

whatever label we give ourselves, or whatever label is pushed on us - we need to be able to transcend them.

i prefer to focus on symbols, rather than labels, and I try to live symbolically, so as to point to something else bigger and more important than myself.

Everything from the Eucharist to "V for Vendetta". Imagination and meaning that points to Truth.

do it.

One of my favorite labels I have been given is "Communist".

and does John Ballenger want us to call him "Captain Ballenger"?

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

captain ballenger it is.
i'm really giving some thought to the concept of symbol rather than label. hmmmmm.

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

...or maybe rather, captain john. his symbol can be a castle or a coin from the department of the treasury or an eagle or... nevermind... that one would have been really bad.

Farmer said...

Symbol- a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract

Label-a classifying phrase or name applied to a person place or thing, especially one that's inaccurate or restrictive

Ryan Schmitz said...

Can we not be followers of Jesus / teachers of the way of Jesus without "credentials?"

Hopefully, but that would be our "credentials".

Why do we adhere ourselves to certain denominational tribes?

There is strength in numbers.

What labels are healthy or unhealthy?

I think that all labels are healthy, it is the pride in our heart regarding the label that is the problem.

How do you label yourself?

I don't.

How do others label you?

Dad, son, husband, brother, Canadian & conservative I guess.

How do you label others?

I prefer to use proper terms, Doctor, Sir, Ma'am, Miss, Mr., Mrs., Given name etc.

chelsea said...

I want people to see the changing and growing me...the everyday battles and experiences that accompany my life. Therefore, I find a sense of fear in having a label...something automatically attached to what and how someone sees me.
Maybe I'm afraid of having a negative label, or maybe I am just not satisfied in being captured in adjectives. We are intricate beings- so different that our own selves should maybe be enough of a label.

Then again, I don't see how we could go without labeling or associating certain words and ideas about one another... so maybe I am talking myself in circles.

Ron said...

It seems to me that labeling and categorization is unavoidably part of what it means to be human. Perhaps the problem is that we come to believe that these labels are reality, rather than our attempt to make meaning out of something which can never be completely captured in a label?

Anonymous said...

You can take this off if you wish...If denominations are part of the body....Who's the butthole?

new creature...webb said...

So, I am walking down the street, and an old crippled woman asks me to help her across the street. I say to the woman, "Sure, but wouldn't you rather RUN!!!", She looks at me with a chid-like twinke in her eye, and says,"yes but I am too old and crippled to run..." My reply is as follows, "I know a way of life that says that you are never too old or crippled to run, play, hop, skip, or jump across the street. Would you like to live this way?" Of coarse she would, and so would we. I believe that following Yeshua requires no label, just a child-like, hard-core belief in the one who "makes ALL things new". I hope this helps.

Matt Frye said...

i like labels. not that labels have to be ultimate reality, but more as realm of possibility. these are some of my labels.
nice. funny. immature. tall.

these are some of the labels i am seeking.
radical. lover. wise. mr. mvnu.

John said...

Meyers & TK,

Captain was my second choice, you could have called me Chef. And it's not Captain Ballenger or Chef Ballenger it's just The Captain or The Chef. Also TK, you had to go to the military application but I was thinking riverboat captain. You guys are all about violence...

Daniel Coutz said...

I definitely disagree with the interpretation of parts of the body of Christ are denominations. The different parts of the body are individuals and their gifts and abilities. Denominations do a better job of dividing than being united which is the calling of the body of Christ.

Travis I am dealing with the same issue of deciding whether to be associated with a particular denomination or not. While I have been a member of the Church of the Nazarene and am planning on keeping my membership and continuing on the road to ordination I struggle with giving my loyalty which belongs only to Christ and to his Church to a particular denomination. However, would I be causing more division within the body if I broke my affiliation with the denomination?

Mike said...

This is great! I love that there are many others going through what I did a while back. Denominations are of the devil. They divide and then have to work to come together for a single cause. That makes perfect sence to me. I really find it funny that denominations are founded on "some portions" of the scripture, and formed around divisive points of interest (see Dr. T Sanders and church history for more info). And then struggle to gain footholds in their community after having divided from some other group of people. I am the pastor of a "non)denominational" church which has in some respect become a denomination of its own without the overwhelming political hubub. And even in our congregation we have a mixture of penecostals, methodists, nazarites, baptists, chirsitan, x catholic and more. It was formed way back when to bring unity to the members of the body. And I also find it interesting that the majority of growing churches and i mean really growing churches are non-denominational and not affiliated with denominations. Not that they are the only ones just the majority.

Anyhow, thats my thought on the matter, and Travis... I still think when all is said and done that we need to start a church or revamp one together and take over world with the Love of Jesus. And it would be called "Freedom Town"

Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."