From the Pastor… The Limits of Labels
My feeling is that labels are for canned food…
I am what I am – and I know what I am. — Michael Stipe
Yes, food labels are important; they let you know what is in the can/box and detailed information about the nutritional values of each ingredient. Chicken should not be labeled as pork; nor should grapes be labeled as olives. Accuracy is essential.
But labeling people is another matter. I have long felt that political terms such as conservative, moderate, and liberal are of limited usefulness and often harmful to meaningful political conversations. I don’t know what each term means to you, so I couldn’t tell you if one label or another applies to me or my friend or to you. Political opponents make use of whatever label will smear his/her rival with negative connotations and associations.
And labels can hurt. Think of all the labels we have for a woman with loose morals and a proclivity to an active sex-life. There are multiple labels for lawbreakers. Each race has its share of negative labels, which are not intended as compliments. It’s human nature to use labels. How else can we make sense of our world and social order?
Be careful about labeling others. We do each other a disservice when we turn a human being into a mere “thing” or category. God loves individuals for who they are, not what they are. We struggle to do the same. – Jesus was good at godly love, and we are followers of Him, aren’t we?
God’s best to you,