Monday, November 26, 2007


Labels are telling. They tell you the amount of cotton to lycra ratio in a garment. They tell you how long you can trust the milk to last. They tell you what symptoms to watch for when taking a medicine. All this is good. Thank God for labels.

When labels are given to other people it may tell you as much about the one giving them as it does about the one to whom one is given. For me to call someone a liberal may reveal that I'm far to the right of where I percieve them to be in some area of thought. If someone were to call me a fundamentalist it may show they are far to the left of wherever they think I am in reference to whatever area they are talking about. On rare occasions labels may actually reflect reality about someone. But those occasions are probably few and far between if the truth were to be known.

Labels can be healthy or unhealthy in relationships depending, by and large, on the motivation of the label giver. For me to determine, in my own mind, someone is a racist because of their hatred for one of another ethnic, religious, or societal group, can be a healthy thing if my motivation is to help protect the one/ones judged or to avoid being like the one judging. That label gives me fair warning, as I said, in my own mind.

If I call another who disagrees with me a trouble maker [a label] because I don't like being disagreed with or I am fearful of rocking the boat of an appearance of unity [which isn't true unity at all] because of what someone on the outside looking in will think, it is an unfortunate, if not unfair, label I've assigned to another. That's REALLY unhealthy.

If I label one a friend because I have a warm relationship with them that is characterized by mutual respect it says a lot also. As I said, labels are telling. It is whatever they actually tell us that we have to eventually get to if we're going to be wise people in relationships.

With all this in mind, following the excellent post of Emily Hunter McGowin titled "Claiming the F-Word", dated November 24th, seen here, I want to tell you of a series of messages I've considered putting together for a return visit to some Church where I've been enough times that they are not afraid of me but, in fact, trust me to speak the truth about things. I call it a high trust/low fear factor instead of a high fear/lowtrust one. It would take high trust to anticipate this series I would entitle.."I Am...All Because of Him."

The series would include at least these messages------

"I Am...A Feminist"
"I Am...An Environmentalist"
"I Am...A communist" [notice the little c]
"I Am...A Hedonist"
"I Am...A Non-conformist"

The labels would need defining wouldn't they. They sure would be telling. I'll leave it to you to draw conclusions about what truth and passages of scripture each would be telling about. They might also draw a crowd. :)
What do you think? Just for fun.


Chuck Andrews said...


Sounds like a great series and I can think of several churches that might just give you the opportunity. I hope to hear this series within the next few months. If I were still pastoring I'd schedule a meeting or give you one Sunday a month for several months just for this series.

Reminds me of what another Paul said. "But by the grace of God I am what I am."

Let me know when you get a CD set because I'll buy the first one.

All Because of Him,

Paul Burleson said...


I think you may be one of the few who gets or appreciates my brilliant, albeit subtle, [tongue totally in cheek here] humor.

I, of course, intend to bring out the biblical meaning of such a designation. For example, Hedonism, as you know, is the doctrine that pleasure is the chief good in life. So..people give themselves over to experiencing pleasure for the good life. But, as the Shorter Catechism says, the "chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever," and because, as the scriptures reveal, we were made for Him, the "good life" is to know Him and live enjoying that relationship eternally.

Funny how all who seek for something, be it pleasure, freedom, equality, or whatever, will only find what they are looking for when they ARE NOT looking for it. They find it when they ARE looking TO Him and weren't looking for "it" at all. Seek Him first and everything else is a by-product of finding Him really is a fact of life.

You know all this of course. My projected series will, if it ever happens, just be another way of showing that.

So much for subtleness. I just came right out and said it didn't I. Oh well...:) Thanks for commenting.