I Think of Myself As ….

I caught a few minutes – my favorite few minutes – of the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner a few days ago. It’s the part where Sidney Poitier’s character, John Prentice, finally confronts his father (who opposes his engagement to a white girl) by saying: “Dad … You think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself … as a man.”

This post isn’t about race. It’s about identity.

I grew up in a church that was somewhat uncomfortable among fellow congregations proudly bearing the sign “Church of Christ.” Our preaching minister, David H. Bobo, was not exclusivist in his view of fellowship and brotherhood. At the time, my parents – and my late dad was an elder there – tended toward that exclusionary view.

How many I times I heard David Bobo recite by heart (not just memory) the poem that closes “… but love and I had the wit to win; we drew a circle that drew them in!”

There were times when I wished I could tell my folks how I felt; conjure the words I would have patterned after John Prentice’s revelation:

“Mom … Dad … You think of yourselves as members of the Church of Christ. I think of myself … as a Christian.”

Dad has passed on, and I think he was moving toward a wider definition of Christianity in his later years. Mom has certainly begun to.

These days I find a less-cultured metaphor in an ALLTEL television commercial: seeing myself wanting to move to embrace those icons of other fellowships that I have included in my “friendship circle;” longing to answer their objections “But that’s not the way we do business!” with the same confident reply of the ALLTEL guy:

“It is now.”

What do you think of yourself as?

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5 thoughts on “I Think of Myself As ….

  1. I am a Christian. Solely a disciple….or should I say “souly”? 🙂 I attend a church of Christ, but I am just a Christian. A follower of Christ.I wish our church sign just said “a group of loving Christians meet here….come experience God with us”. Don’t hold your breath!Thanks for the wonderful post, bro!DU

  2. “Don’t hold your breath” is NOT part of the church sign! 🙂 I should have hit the space bar a few times. It meant: Don’t look for it to happen any time soon. DUH!DU

  3. I think that more and more of the COCs are realizing that they are not alone. I’m in one that is embracing other views. I know a few in these parts think we are very wrong. I wonder if we can ever be open minded without compromising our beliefs.

  4. I too think of myself as a follower of Christ, a Christian.But I am finding that so many years of hearing and seeing things taught one way have “colored” the way I look at things (no matter how much I think I have changed) …so maybe I would define myself as a Christian who is daily transforming to be more like Jesus…..

  5. Good grief, Keith –I miss just a few days in dropping by here and you’re back! Big time. GOOD!I think of myself as a Christian and that’s mostly how I leave it unless further identification is required in some way.But, as TCS has so accurately been reminding many of us about our heritage over at < HREF="http://thomasstewart.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">“Believing Thomas”<>, it’s hard to set aside and/or convince some of our fellow “faithful(s)” who are always “faithfully” in attendance as “faithful” “M(s)OTC” that we should perhaps use more commonly recognized and less devisive terminology. BTW – are you one of the “faithful” “M(s)OTC” in bringing all of this up, you think?

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