Identity

Mrs. Boyd was in the hospital recently. One thing she noticed right away was that she was asked at every turn for her name and her birthdate. Over eight days it was well over fifty times she was asked. They clearly wanted to make sure they were treating the correct person. They wanted her identity to be confirmed.

But does her name and birthdate really tell you who she is? Of course, you would need to know her to really know who she is. A great mother to four boys. An amazingly creative and accomplished teacher. A dedicated woman of faith.

Just as a name and a birthdate do not tell us everything about a person, checking off boxes on forms does not tell us very much. You know what I am talking about. Are you white, black, Hispanic and white, Hispanic and black, a Pacific Islander and so on.

Unfortunately, though, so much of our world focuses on these very kinds of things and, by implication, believes they know something about you because of the boxes you check.

I think about this every time a reporter talks about Women’s Issues. There is some belief that if you check the female box you must therefore believe certain things. Well, Mrs. Boyd certainly does not fall into that imaginary identity group that the media and politicians create. Nor do thousands of women I know.

It strikes me as ironic that as child of the sixties I was taught to not judge anyone by the categories they fit into on the exterior. We notice those categories, for sure. But to translate that to an opinion about the person without knowing him or her was deemed wrong and still should be.

Now it seems that everyone is supposed to fit into a series of check boxes and not be treated as an individual.

This week’s Bible passage for consideration at our faculty meeting was Galatians 3:28. St. Paul the apostle, writes:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

It is great to know that our unity in Christ is not based by a series of check boxes on a demographic survey. It is only based on trusting that Jesus is the Son of God and that he saved us by His work on the cross. And those who share that faith can be as different as imaginable and still can be one in Christ.

As our school seems every year to have a greater variety of boxes being checked by students and families, we value our differences and celebrate that which binds us together.

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

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