J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Label Makers

LabelmakerOne of the central failures of American Christianity is our assumption that we know people better than we do.  Christians often assume we know what people are thinking and what they value without ever interacting with them.  This is partly due to our living in a Wall-E like space ship known as the Church, but more times than not, we just find it easier to label folks.

Sadly, it is so much more convenient to use categories than actually get to know people.  We throw around terms like “conservative or liberal,” “Reformed or Arminian,” “charismatic or cessationist,” “Republican or Democrat,” or even “black or white.”  Though there are some truths that can be assumed in these labels (especially if a person claims them for themselves), they fall woefully short in actually enabling an understanding of that person.

Getting out of these habits though is pretty hard.  It means doing the hard work of getting to know people.  It means asking people questions about their values instead of assuming them or attacking them.  It means reading books from people in which you disagree.  It means allowing others to get to know you without you throwing around your own labels.

More than anything, when interacting with folks, the Church must be willing to value relationships over wining arguments.  The platform for proclaiming Christ is not excellent debating skills or the ability to pigeonhole people into insignificance.  Genuinely caring about people, wanting to know them and what they value, and then speaking Christ into their life will go much further than lazy efforts of assumption making.

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner.


October 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This seems to be a matter of “practicing what is preached” but folks seem to be a whole lot better at telling other people how to amend their lives rather than changing their own behavior.

    Comment by Nobilis | October 20, 2009 | Reply

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