Identity politics

Identity politics

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. – Ephesians 2:14

Ephesians 2:15-19

 15 He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

 17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.

 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.

The term “identity politics” has only recently entered the mainstream of the American culture. Identity politics, called by different names, has been around for millennia. In 1991, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., historian, authored a book, The Disuniting of America. The book discussed identity politics at length.

At the present time, in overly simplistic terms, identity politics refers to social groups categorized mainly on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, social class, profession, culture, language, disability, education, occupation, gender, urban or rural habitation, or veteran status.

For liberal democracy to function properly, a common basis for culture and society is needed. America was once called the melting pot of the world. The term was first coined in the 1780’s. It came into common usage after the play, The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill premiered in 1908. Melting pot is a metaphor describing immigrants “melting” into the receiving culture. Heterogeneous individuals and groups “melting together” into a harmonious whole with a common culture via the assimilation of immigrants to the United States. People came to this Country to become “Americans.”

Is there any doubt that whatever consensus formally existed in America has fractured? Rather than focusing on what unites us as Americans, differences are emphasized. Today it is all about privilege or the lack thereof, power and powerlessness. The riffs, fractures, and marginalization grow stronger through affirmations of differences. The differences become battle cries to rally around.

Spirit of the day screams, “What matters most to me and those with whom I identify with is me utmost priority.” The concerns of other groups, or the “greater whole” of society are ignored and disregarded.

As children of the King, what are our identity politics? Putting it another way, who or what do we identify and bond with? What removes divisions based upon identity politics and unifies us?

REFLECT & PRAY

The Lord Jesus Christ tore down the walls that separated people.

Father thank You for providing a way to allow all people, from all time to become one, united together in Your forever family. Encourage me to abolish any remainder of walls that exist within my heart. May I welcome each and every brother and sister.

INSIGHT

Ancient Rome was very much into identity politics. It was extremely class-conscious and hierarchical. There were essentially only two broad categories of classes: upper and lower. Rome had no middle-class.

There were two upper classes. The Senatorial class (senatores) those who served in the Senate. The basis for this class was solely political. The Equestrian class (equites) was based solely upon economics. If you had enough money you are considered an equestrian.

There were five lower classes. Commons (plebs or vulgus) were all other freeborn Roman citizens. Latins (Latini) were freeborn residents of Italy. Foreigners (peregrini) consisted of all other freeborn men and women who lived in Roman territories. Freedpeople (liberti or libertini) had been slaves that had either bought their freedom or had been released from slavery. Slaves (servi) were chattel. They were property of their owners by law. It is estimated that about 25% of the population were slaves.

The New Testament has multiple examples of identity politics.

1 Corinthians 1:12 Some of you are saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”

John 4:9 Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

John 1:46 “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

Colossians 3:11 Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman,

Galatians 3:28 slave or free, male and female.

Witnessing firsthand all of the enmity and animosity identity politics created amongst the Father’s children, Paul was incredulous and asked, “Has Christ been divided into factions?” (1 Corinthians 1:13)

What was the Father’s answer to identity politics? He created one forever family. Everyone is welcome in His family. Everyone is loved, and treated fairly and equally. His family includes people from diverse backgrounds, classes, ethnicities, wealth, religions, and gender.

To create unity, to overcome discord, animosity, and hatred between opposing groups required the ultimate sacrifice. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who chose to die to rid planet Earth of this problem for all children of the King for all-time and eternity to come.

The division and animus between Jews and Gentiles was perhaps the strongest and the most severe. The law of Moses required legal separation of Jews and Gentiles. It was improper for them to join together, commingle, and intermarry.

Ephesians 2:15-19

 15 He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

 17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.

 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.

Ephesians 4:4-6 

 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

In the Father’s family, all His children enjoy the same privileges and gifts. It provides unity while maintaining uniqueness. It is the ultimate melting pot.

One thought on “Identity politics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: