Ego sum

I need to say this carefully so that there is no misunderstanding.

Objectively speaking, I am Christian. A Christian, yes, but more importantly, Christian.

That is, subjectively speaking, I see the world, reality, what have you from a particular perspective which, objectively, others have identified as "Christian" but which for me is simply the truth.

The truth being, that I, like all other human beings, am a child of God, created in His image and likeness, a creature of body and soul, created good and yet fallen and, therefore, in need of salvation.

Which means, I realized yesterday talking to a new friend who is a Baha’i and whose family immigrated to the U.S. from Iran when she was a child, that I, like she, am not particularly anxious about being or not being an American, other than that living in the United States gives me political freedom to see myself and everyone else in the world as a child of God without risking criminalization or exile, at least, politically.

Of course, culturally, I am an American. I grew up here. I speak English as my first language. I am upper middle class. I am a woman. But none of these characteristics define *me* as such; they are, subjectively speaking, accidents. I might be male, poor, Aramaic-speaking, Palestinian, but I would still, from my perspective, be a child of God.

Sure, sure, objectively, you want to say, that I am Christian is itself an accident of my growing up when and where I did--but that is not what I believe from within. From within, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. Which means, subjectively speaking, it doesn't matter to me what language you or I speak, what passport we hold, where we grew up, what kind of food we like, we still belong to the same history, the long history of God’s working in the world.

I realize now that this is probably the most important reason that I have (and have had) such a problem with the turn to Identity Studies that my profession took back before I was even conscious that I wanted to be an historian. I am not interested in differences between human beings except as accidents. It is curious that we have differentiated ourselves from one another in the way that we have, but it does not change the fact that we are creatures of God.

Which means, even more importantly, that it is very difficult for me to see any other human being as anything other than subjectively other, not as Other, but only as Other Than Me But Otherwise Like Me a Child of God. Sure, we might have differences culturally (which, I appreciate, for you might include not being able to see me as a child of God), but that is not what I will see in you.

Just so you know.


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