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Making distinctions is at the heart of philosophy: something is this and not that. We human beings like making distinctions, and we are, for the most part, very good at it. We classify animals, plants, soil, rocks, clouds, and bodies of water by making distinctions. One of our favorite distinctions to make is about ourselves, and I don’t mean simply in terms of race, faith, ethnicity, sex, politics, or economics, as much as we enjoy making such distinctions. The kind of distinction that seems to fascinate many of us is the one that addresses that way in which we encounter the world through our personality, temperament, or basic hard-wiring as human beings.
Consider conversations that you’d have when you’ve identified someone who is like you, or the total opposite of you. Maybe you’ve found comfort in meeting a fellow introvert who understands you, or you’ve been impressed by someone’s pragmatism or another’s artistic eye. Perhaps you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs and things click into place when you share the differences or similarities of your profile with one another. The same sort of thing can happen when chatting about the Four Temperaments, Strength Finder, or your Spirit Animal. The ancient Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself,” seems to be at the heart of this quest to know what kind of self we are.
College - Seminary - Charges - Seminarians - Identity
I teach at a college seminary, and one of my most important charges is to help my seminarians come to know who they are. Certainly our deepest identity comes as sons and daughters of the Father, a relationship given to us through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. But there are secondary identities as well that help us to be able to give our lives away in love to God and others, and they are worthy of our attention.
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The truth fairly and honestly presented, will be spun as a lie by a politician.