Thursday, October 10, 2013

Does the Label Define You?

I love the Facebook photo album Sarah Bessey has crowd sourced for her soon to be released book Jesus Feminist. People from all over the world have completed the statement "I am _______ and I am a Jesus Feminist." It has been interesting to see how people fill in their own blank. What labels they use.

I considered what I would write.

Mom of 3 Boys
Independent Voter
Conservative Christian College Graduate
West Coast Transplant
Feminist (well that one is already in the statement)

Having moved, I am faced with being new again. Labels are a getting to know you shortcut. A way to explain what I believe or what I do or once upon a time.

We treat labels as if that is all I need to know about how you think or feel or are.

Except they don't really.

I have Republican friends who are not Christian.

I have Liberal friends who are not pro-choice.

I have male friends who do not like sports and female friends who countdown the days to hockey season.

I have friends who are stay at home mothers who do not like preschoolers in general but have found a love for their own. I have friends who are amazing with kids that never want to parent.

I have found that I throw out labels hoping to find likeminded individuals. People who think like me about topics that matter to me. The problem though is that no label is really a good understanding of the whole of any one person.

Look at me...

To my non Church friends I am seen as a Christian who is very active in my church but to many of my Christian friends my some of my theological and social positions put me almost outside the church altogether.

I am prolife but I am also prochoice. I believe all life is to be valued including those unborn and born, the innocent collateral losses of war and the murders on death row. But I also know that these are complicated issues and that I would never want someone to tell me what I had to do with my body so I do not think it is okay for society to make those choices for someone else.

I am a woman. I love sports and intellectual debate. I hate crafting and the expectation that I would have a knack for hospitality. I enjoy laundry but I hate cooking.

I am registered as not belonging to a political party because I believe my only allegiance is to Jesus and yet I vote along party lines most of the time though I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the presidential elections since I turned 18.

I am a stay at home mom. I have moved all over the country, the western hemisphere to support my husband's career, I am active in church and volunteer at school, but I am an egalitarian. (As in I believe that God made man and woman equal to one another, that my gender does not determine my leadership role in a church, that my husband and I make decisions together and co-lead our family.)

My labels describe me but they do not define me.

I need to remember that when I am labeling other people.

What labels describe you? Do you let them define you?


  1. I feel like I should add an addition to your post. Instead, I will say, if you want to know who I am, just spend some time with me. The answer to your question is I have many labels that describe me, but none that define me. I'm way to complicated for that! :)

    1. Exactly Tracy. We need to take time to get to know who people really are. Said by another complicated person. :)

  2. Side note...your complexity of not being able to be stuffed into a category, is one of the most interesting things about you Jennifer. I have always thought that about you.That is why you are one of those people that others should be coming to ask "what do you think about....". I may not always agree with your stance, but I believe that your opinions have always been off interest to me! Now for me, you could probably label me appropriately all day. How boring!

  3. That is supposed to be of not off! Stupid auto correct...