Acceptance and Belonging: An Examination
- December 16, 2018
- Jared Odenbeck
I often hear questions that ask why an individual acts in accordance with the culture of a certain group or queries into an individual’s association with a group.
It all funnels into the idea of identity. Identity explores the questions of “who am I?” and “what is the world to me?” The answers dictate the spring from which the depths of a person flows, from their relationships to their activities to their interests and affections.
I find that identity arises out of sequential order. An interest peaks an individual’s curiosity. The interest leads the individual to a group. In the group, the individual develops relationship. Relationships flows into shared life. Shared life exchanges intimacies that create acceptance. A group that accepts each other grows into a community. And a community displays shared identity to the world.
So, why does an individual play golf with the same group of guys, who they never see away from the course, every weekend? Acceptance. They found acceptance over the discovery of a common and shared identity. Why might an individual hand over thousands of dollars a semester to join a fraternity or sorority? Belonging.
For too long, Christianity declared to the world, “the Door opens unto the good and the righteous.” I pray that we would open ourselves to the world. To all people. Not in the exclusive toleration of anything and everything, but through an invitation to find true acceptance and inclusivity. Because the acceptance of Christ frees us from the exclusivity of rule following. He brought us in, and as “members” of his “group,” as saints, we follow the leader our LORD and live like him.