On Social Labels

From Dave Black Online:

It’s human nature to employ social labels. We love to put people into our little boxes according to race, social status, level of education, country of origin, etc. — and the labels on the boxes determine to a great degree how we think about ourselves and how we treat others. Everyone we know generally fits into one of these boxes. Occasionally we place people in the wrong box. I think this is true of people who have a formal education. We assume a particular person has greater knowledge of the Scriptures if he or she has a theological degree from a Bible school or seminary. In fact, some of the most biblically illiterate people I know have degrees in theology. I believe that God wants to transform our social interaction completely. Jesus taught that external labels have so significance in His kingdom. It’s not that the title “Dr.” Black is inherently sinful. The problem is when we see other people as doctors or students or Republicans or Democrats or home-schoolers or government-schoolers or males or females rather than as siblings in the family of God. This is the upshot of Andy Bowden’s latest blog post, which I am very grateful I stumbled upon this morning. On the surface there is probably nothing harmful or positively evil in referring to me as “Dr.” Black. The danger is when we allow our titles to keep us from each other. When this happens, the tail of social convention wags the dog of Christian unity.For what it’s worth, I could care less about formal titles. The early church did without them. And they did just fine. Look at the way they called each other by their first names — Paul, Peter, John, Barnabas. They seemed to truly believe that the kingdom of God is flat. Titles that emphasize status differences are neither necessary nor healthy. Why not just call each other by our first names or — if an epithet is necessary — by “brother” or “sister”?

(David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy, as well as co-editor of the Areopagus Critical Christian Issues Series. This extract from his blog is used by permission.)

The Jesus Paradigm in Ethiopia

While author Dave Black was practicing the Jesus paradigm (no, I didn’t ask his permission to say that) in Ethiopia, his Ethiopian son Nigussie was reading his book.

As Dave said:

I thought you’d be interested in these pix I took when we were packing the vehicle for the drive from Alaba to Addis. I gave a copy of The Jesus Paradigm to our son Nigussie, who literally took the book with him wherever we went. It’s not every publisher who has his books read on top of a Land Cruiser in Ethiopia.

Yes indeed!  And I’m acquainted with that mode of transportation.

Dave and Becky Black have just returned from a visit to Ethiopia where the served in various parts of the country.  You can find more information and pictures of their trip on Dave’s blog at Dave Black Online.

(David Alan Black is the author of Energion books The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy.)

Continue reading The Jesus Paradigm in Ethiopia