Believing: What do I think?I recently shared some of what she said about believing, about behaving (and doing), and today I want to quote from her chapter on belonging. If I ask you who you are, you will most likely give me your name. This "me" named Bonnie has changed from time to time, like having to redefine myself when I became a wife and got a new last name, when I became a mother, when I divorced, when I got a job, when I changed jobs, when I moved far to another city where I had no family. My life kept changing because I kept "going places" either mentally or physically. Bass says,
Behaving: How should I act?
Belonging: Who am I?
"In this context of mobility, philosophers and theologians say that the most logical understanding of the self is that of a seeker, searcher, nomad, traveler, pilgrim, or tourist — identities of discovery and fuildity. Who am I? has become the question Where am I? I know that I am because that is where I was, this is where I am, and I am going somewhere else" (p, 177).Years ago, a Roman Catholic friend was surprised when I told her the Bible was basically a family story, going from Abraham to Moses and Judah and King David and eventually Jesus. Diana Butler Bass mentioned a specific aspect of the family in this chapter.
"...the Hebrew Bible is a sort of family spiritual pilgrimage memoir, a record of a communal journey to and from God and back again that reveals ever increasing faithfulness, deepening awareness of what it means to be a Jew, and a widening understanding of God and God's love and justice" (p. 179).And the question becomes, Whose am I? Because we are relational beings, we need connections and community. As Bass says,
"Accordingly, our very existence is relational. ... The church is, therefore, not an institution, an organization, or a building, but a community of relationships where people's selves are with God and with one another, bound by love" (p. 195).Believing, behaving, and belonging — but, according to the next chapter in the book, we've got the list backwards.
What about you? To whom do you "belong"? Who is part of your closest community?