February 29, 2008

What's Your Identity?

Do you personally identify more with things that you had no say over, or things that you chose yourself?

I'm German. I'm a painter. I'm Filipino. I'm a Christian. I'm into heavy metal. I'm a woman. I'm a Trekkie. I'm a Democrat.

Today, I'm asking for a response to the following two questions:

1. What single thing/group do you identify yourself with the MOST?

2. What group of people celebrating their similar identities would you be MOST uncomfortable attending?


Arcane Rest said...

1. Christian
2. Church

Arcane Rest said...

whoops read question 2 wrong, i thought it said what group of people celbrating their similar identities as you would you be most comfortable attending

Eric Olsen said...

lol, i just thought you were a Christian who hates other Christians.

so, what's your real #2?

email said...

You're a German-Filipino woman?

I read this post earlier today and couldn't come up with an answer. So I thought I'd think about it and come back. I still don't have an answer. I guess I don't strongly identify with any group in particular. Everything I am, I just am. No need to join a group over it.

Eric Olsen said...

Those were simply options to get the idea ball rolling, JMC.

I actually identify with only one item on that list.

The idea came after seeing that many of my friends identify strongly with their ethnicity, and are very supportive of those particular sub-groups of people in our culture.

It seemed silly to me, to be arrogant over that which you had no control over.

email said...

Yes, I know, I was kidding with the German-Filipino woman thing.

I wouldn't think they're necessarily being arrogant about it. Being proud of one's heritage doesn't necessitate feeling that it is any better than another's. I suppose, though, that thinking it is better is the case in many instances.

Marc said...

I think I prefer to be identified by decisions I have made. Perhaps I just don't want to be lumped in with all the other short hairy dudes who had no say in the matter. Plus, I didn't put forth any effort to become white and middle-class (my parents did the work for that one). Following Christ, however, was my choice and effort, so I'll take the association. I like hanging around people who have similar hobbies as me, but it doesn't carry the same kind of weight as the "big" choices that we make. I'd imagine that married people like being known as such.

2. the nazi party. oops. godwin's law.


Eric Olsen said...


For some reason, I think being proud of one's heritage is weird. I'm not sure if it's right or wrong. But, why be proud to be Italian? Ethnic heritage just seems like a very arbitrary thing to take pride in.


"following Christ was my choice and effort"

...that opens up an interesting aside that you identify yourself as an "armenian" more than a "calvinist" :)

Marc said...

Dude, you did not just reduce that to an armenianism / calvinism distinction. Even a devout Calvinist will avoid going as far as to say that living a life that exhibits a heart responsive to God's act of grace is completely effortless. And really, pure Calvinism is only useful as an academic exercise in trying to figure out God's end of things. From where we stand, it will always look like we have some choice, some ability, some responsibility. Because if being a Christian just means trusting that God's got it all wrapped up (so to speak), and I have no meaningful way to respond, I think I'm going to go back to bed. I might do that anyway.

Eric Olsen said...


Steve said...

I wonder if growing up in an exceedingly ethnic community makes a difference? I mean, I'm sure there were plenty of other Germans or Luxemborgans in West Bend, but with the exception of a small, one afternoon Germanfest celebration, it wasn't really celebrated at all. If you grow up in a place where being a certain ethnicity means something (rightly or wrongly), then maybe that leads to greater identification.

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