Identity politics and the Forever Family ∙

Identity politics and the Forever Family ∙

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

For 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 1780s. It came into common usage after the play, The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill premiered in 1908. The term “Melting Pot” is a metaphor describing immigrants “melting” into the culture they enter. Heterogeneous individuals and groups “melt 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.” The American people showcase unity and diversity.

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 emphasis and affirmation 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 my utmost priority.” The concerns of other groups, or the “greater whole” of society are ignored and disregarded. Is it too much to say that this is herd narcissism?

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 periods of human history to become one, united together in Your Forever Family. Encourage me to identify and abolish any walls that may remain within my heart. May I welcome and embrace 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 (peregrine) 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 nothing more than chattel. By law, they were the property of their owners. 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 Forever Family. Everyone is loved and treated fairly and equally. His Forever 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 identity politics for all children of the King for all time and eternity.

The division and animus between Jews and Gentiles were perhaps the strongest and the most severe. The law of Moses required the 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.

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

¯_()_/¯ 2-20-2

© Dr. H 2022

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