WHAT THE PURVEYORS OF IDENTITY POLITICS CANNOT SEE

earthjewel

You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics. — Charles Bukowski

Imagine approaching Earth from space. Far enough away, we cannot see the Earth. There is no trace of man. Mankind does not matter. There is only me, lonely me. Only “I” matters.

Eventually, the Earth appears, a small, glittering jewel.

Closer, at orbital heights above our home, we can see traces of man. We can spot the Great Wall of China. We can detect plumes of pollution streaming into the air and the water.

Closer still, cruising above the land, we can observe groups of people, people separated by color, nationality, religion, disability, sexual orientation, job, wealth, sports team, and so many other things.

Some enjoy the heights. They revel in distantly observing and manipulating ant-like souls. Most join one of the groups. We want to be with people like us. The more the people around us are like us the more we feel they affirm us.

What we see depends upon where we choose to stand. If we stand close enough, we can see an individual. We can converse with someone. We can know their joys and sorrows. We can examine their virtues and their blemishes. Only up close can we know our neighbor.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. — Martin Luther King, Jr. (quote from here)

Only up close can we see, hear, and touch our neighbor. Only up close can we appreciate a unique person, a person like our self. Far away we see differences that don’t much matter. Far enough away we see no one. Then we cannot know our brothers and sisters, people like us, people made in the image of our Creator.

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21 thoughts on “WHAT THE PURVEYORS OF IDENTITY POLITICS CANNOT SEE

  1. It’s interesting I have been pondering this very same concept of the uniqueness of individuals and their specialness of being made in God’s image over and over again these last few days. Glad you were able to make a post of it! Very well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great minds think alike. Thank you.
      😀

      In truth, I wandered into this almost by accident. I was writing another post, and I realized this chunk did not fit. Nevertheless, it said something I hoped others would find worth reading.

      BTW – There is much to say about the fact God made us in His image. If you have some thoughts to post, I would be surprised if I have stolen your thunder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s definitely worth reading Tom. There is definitely much to say about being made in God’s image. As far as any pending posts from me though, my creativity well has been awfully dry lately. I’m hoping it gets replenished soon…..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony

    I like the sentiment here and I think that it is true in the most lovely sense. I think that the title is unfortunate, however.

    How do you identify? Is it Muslim? Mormon? Protestant? Catholic? Gay? Lesbian? Woman? Man? Agnostic? Christian? Conservative? Republican? Father? Husband? Wife? Grandfather? Grandmother? White? Black? Asian? Hispanic? Native American?

    Are each of those miracles of the immense human spectrum just “identity politics”? Is God just a one finite white old man, or are we all, of all races, sexes, cultures and ethnicities not made in the same multifaceted image of a loving God?

    There is a sense here that one “set” of identities “only” legitimize as true, and all the others are false identities, or that there is only one simple identity that is in the image of the infinite God who must be also of infinite spectrum, or that one narrow identity (white, male, Protestant?) is the “one and only” identity of an infinite God.

    God is infinite, but our individual, finite, individual identities in God are not infinite, However, if they indeed are made in God’s image, they, as humanity, are deep and wide of classification beyond our silly human understanding. Let’s not pretend to narrow the miraculous scale of a wonderfully diverse and pluralistic humanity that is made in the image of an infinite God. Let us instead awe and marvel and yes, love, the infinite range and color and flavor of who we all are. The least of us in the least of places are more God than all the rest of us put together. That is the mystery, that is the majesty, of the blinding image of a loving God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tony

      Glad you almost enjoyed my post.

      How do I identify? I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I strive to make His example my own. The rest of the labels don’t much matter.

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    2. @Tony

      After I first responded to you question, it occurred to me that I also identify as a husband, a father, and a friend. Of course, you can say the same.

      Those identities, husband, father, and friend do not necessarily put us into an identity groups. What they more immediately describe is a the nature of a relationship we have with another human being. The importance of being a husband, a father, and a friend rests upon the fact of and the quality of the relationship. Do we care? Are we committed to the relationship? Do we feel privileged to give of ourselves to another? Do we understand we are blessed to be a husband, a father, or a friend?

      On the other hand, members of identity groups too often see themselves a victims, and devious politicians encourage the members of identity groups to combine and seize power at the expense of others. Therefore, we must be careful to see both our self and others as our Creator intended. We are not victims. We are conquerors.

      Romans 8:31-39 New King James Version (NKJV)
      God’s Everlasting Love

      31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

      “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
      We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

      37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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  3. In my opinion, we need some inspirational words to bring our groups within our nation closer together. If I had to choose a speech, I would choose this speech to compliment Kings in your post.

    Excerpt President Abraham Lincoln

    “It is said an Eastern monarch (King Solomon, perhaps,) once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! — how consoling in the depths of affliction! “And this, too, shall pass away.” And yet let us hope it is not quite true. Let us hope, rather, that by the best cultivation of the physical world, beneath and around us; and the intellectual and moral world within us, we shall secure an individual, social, and political prosperity and happiness, whose course shall be onward and upward, and which, while the earth endures, shall not pass away.”

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Identity politics might best be described as a form of factionalism. Factions use to form based upon tribal and economic interests. However, if you really want to divide people so that you can easily conquer them, then you may as well use any excuse for division that you can imagine. Somebody is bound to fall for it.

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  4. Tony

    Tom – Don’t you think that when everyone looks in the mirror they see their own identity and they too think that that person who they see is made in God’s image?

    When Paul of Tarsus looked in the mirror he most likely saw a dark brown person of Arab Semitic ethnicity, a Hebrew Jew Pharisee with Roman citizenship, who after his dramatic conversion identified as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth who was also most likely a dark brown skinned Arab looking Jew by birth. Jesus’ mother, Mary, also most likely saw a dark skinned Arab looking Hebrew Jewish woman from Palestine. What do you supposed Jesus’ father above sees in the mirror? 😏

    We all have identities that we proudly assert and classifications that we are forced by the world to assume whether we want them or not. Your problem with “identify politics” can’t really be with the individual assertion of an identify. You are yourself vociferously proclaiming a set of features that make up an individual identity that you both share with others and that separates you from others. Could your problem with “identity” therefore really derive from the assumption that only your own identity (Protestant Republican Christian American white male) exclusively reflects God’s divine sanction and legitimacy?

    The one identity that we all share in common that is made in the image of God is our soul. St. Aquinas reasoned that the teleological purpose of the human soul was ultimately to know God and thus to return to God. Part of the American experiment is the ability of sincere individuals to argue about the correct path of the soul’s journey back to God. However, it seems counterintuitive to the effort itself if our argument lacks the humility of civility, along with the recognition that, no matter the differences in our deeply and sincerely held convictions, when we look at another, we looking in the mirror at another image of God.

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    1. @Tony

      It is bedtime. So I will leave you with this.

      1 Corinthians 9:19-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
      Serving All Men

      19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

      When Paul looked into the mirror, he saw a wicked sinner redeemed by the blood and the grace of Jesus Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 2thdocbob

    Reblogged this on Doctor Bob’s Weblog and commented:
    If you don’t agree with my politics, at least agree with me on this.
    I, too, have tried to focus on the principles rather than the politics throughout this endless, arduous campaign, and this post summed up what I think is truly important.

    Liked by 1 person

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