Culture, Community and Identity

One day (many years ago) I asked my son-in-law to conclude the many words I shared that day about my vision of our newly started foundation.

He wrote the following outline:

The community
To give relevance to your existence. To give something of yourself to this world. That’s where many of us are looking for (Identity). We know that if we want to achieve a goal in life, we need each other (a company). It is therefore logical that we look for a “community” whose vision is most consistent with our life purpose. How then is it that we often do not find our identity, or even losses in some cases, in our chosen “community”? And how do we come to a “community” of people who all live out their identity?

The vision outlines the goal
Many “communities” start with one or more people who have the same vision. The visionaries often try to directly shape the “community” which will realize the vision. Through this form the “community” will receive its own identity. The “community” will attract new people with the same vision. But over time it appears that an identity crisis occurs with many people in the “community” because the identity of the “community” is decisive and does not appear to correspond to the identity of the individual.

Vision should not lead directly to a form, but helps individuals to keep the end goal clearly in mind.

The community starts with the identity of the individual
It is important that we live who we are. Do things from the heart is the most useful thing we can give this world. Now we still need each other. To give structure to a “community” is therefore necessary, but the “community” should never determine the identity. The individual identities and what comes from it constitute the “community”, and ensure the realization of the vision.

How do you find your identity?
Your identity is the core that God has placed in you. A deep relationship with God brings you to your identity. Your identity is shaped into things you do. You discover yourself as you are actively engaged in what you enjoy doing.

As many of us has felt the strangling grip of the “communities” we joined, it mostly resulted in questioning ourself through not fitting in. Families, Schools, Villages and even the Nation we are part of! The places where habits over the generations grew into culture and you are supposed to live by these unwritten rules since, “that’s how we do it!“.
It becomes even harder when the community is the church you freely joined, the fellowship where we are supposed to be part of, to be obedient, to take part! The moments where verses have been used to “not avoid the regular meeting” and even to “obey those who lead you” in order to keep you in, mostly fuelled by guilt, are outnumbered!
I myself, struggling with the total lack of understanding who I was, have been bumped into this phenomena time after time.
Well, after all those years (turning 66 this year) I have chosen to see this battle in my life as a life-long education to grow the message of our Redeemer, our Saviour, the message of freedom and Identity in Him!

This morning I have been reading the Praise Report on the Nation I am living in. “In global ranking, Sweden frequently appears at or near the top.” it stated. You should read the article yourself. While I was reading the arguments in a deep way I was troubled, sad even while every day I meet the Swedes, the beautiful talented people, the generation that is living in this promising, praised “community” and I have been paralysed by the deep lack of identity, of fear, of unwritten rules that are so confronting. A nation that mostly remind me of a called nation making bricks for the Pharaoh’s Agenda.

Let My People Go…

In reading that article I was reminded of the words Mark (my son-in-law) wrote and that’s why I decided to post.

In my following posts I will try to continue my worries, not to stay at the worrying part, because that’s not me! No, in order to move from seeing, going past the conclusion and challenge myself daily on what would be my contribution.

My guideline:
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Ephesians 4:11
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.