Monday, April 17, 2006


I went to church on Sunday excited to celebrate Jesus' power over death and simply amazed that the God who created everything went to such great lengths to save rebels like us. I can barely get my mind around a group of Christians who don't make mention of the historical reality of His resurrection from the dead after Passover, but that is what happened. This illustrates the tendency to polarize that is part of Chilean culture. Some say the tendency to polarize into one group or another among Chilean's comes from the colonial times and the polarization between indigenous and Spanish people. That makes sense. Not celebrating Jesus' resurrection on the other hand... This effort to not identify with the Catholic church seems to have gone too far.

There are extreme circumstances where the search for and giving of identity happens in society. However I think this search for identity is just as real but more subtle in our ordinary lives. The first question we ask a stranger is often, "What do you do?" Why? Because we think that their line of work will help us identify them. It would be highly irregular to ask, "Who do you love?" But that question would probably help us know the person better. Maybe that question asked as frequently as "What do you do?" would begin to change how a society understands and creates identity. That would be an interesting experiment!

The shocking thing about a church not celebrating the resurrection is that it is the church that should be most given to finding identity in relationships and not work. Our relationship with Jesus should cause us to celebrate Him, and our salvation in Him. Having been reconciled to God by grace not works, this relationship with God is the center of this community, the church. There is plenty of room to celebrate in different ways. But to polarize so much as to not even mention the resurrection on Easter Sunday seems to fail to apply the gospel to life. Being Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal or Evangelical does not give a CHRISTian their true identity. Those titles define the form of religious practice and point to important doctrinal beliefs. And while I love God with my mind by pursuing sound doctrine, I don't think I can love God at all until I am reconciled to Him/identified with Him in love. We love God because He first loved us. The good news is we can know the most wonderful King as our King. Our identity, first and foremost, is in relationship to Him, not in what we know about Him or what task He gives us.
How do we create a movement on campus where the gospel does not isolate us from a culture that is already prone to polarize? By understanding and applying the gospel to our lives! Our good works and our speaking in love are what students will see.