So I was speaking in chapel this week on identity... the identity we've been given, the identity we're told we should have, the identity we chase. This seems a bigger issue in light of the whole facebook/tumblr/twitter thing. Identity is ours for the making and remaking. This seems a problem but maybe that's just me.
The talk was on Zacchaeus and the was in which he pursued power/influence/respect and how quickly that dissolves in one interaction with Jesus. For whatever reason, one interaction and he's generous, compassionate, justice focused. It's incredible especially when you realize there's no miraculous healing, no deep interaction like the woman at the well. There's only acknowledgement.
We had the students complete an exercise where they were given sheets of dyed paper and told they could trade or keep them. After discussing the exercise I spoke on not letting others force you to accept an identity that's not you, on not being apathetic about your identity, on not trying to get rid of the parts of yourself that are uniquely you just because they're not approved of by your culture. It was one of those talks that starts out like "Oh yeah this is good stuff for them" and ends with "man I'm so bad at this" I hate it when that happens. It's super annoying. It feels like I'm just avoiding truth that I clearly should be aware of but have, for whatever reason, completely avoided doing anything about. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Whenever I walk into a new setting I'm almost immediately evaluating the room to figure out the best me for that situation. I know this is an old thing with me. It's not like I haven't been grappling with it for years or anything, but it's been more focused lately. I'm really crappy at being anyone but myself. I'm horrible at adapting to people's expectations of relevant or cool or interesting or enlightened. I'm not sure I care to try anymore. I told a friend of mine my theme for the year (yes I know I've been big on theme lately) is "say something" I'm at a point where I'm going to do what I think is right and if people have a problem with it they can either say something and I'll totally discuss it with you or keep quiet and I'm not going to waste time wondering if you actually have a problem and aren't saying anything. It just feels more sane that way.