“It takes courage to stand up against your enemies. It takes more courage to stand up against your friends.”

(Peter Vardy)

Social context is huge.  It does not need to be determinative. It does seem however to be determinative many times.

I have been in and among many churches and Christian organizations. One question I’ve asked which shows the power/influence of social cohesion is: Name one person who has raised an issue of concern about their respective church, school, etc. and was that person marginalized, fired, or promoted? I get lots of silence.

Sad reality and it is the kind of thing which made Niebuhr cynical about groups, including the church. But the church can and must do better. And I know several pastors who do, so I stay sane!



In the West, we use “identity” language.  This kind of language is a belief of modernity.  Most don’t communicate it as a belief, but rather use it as a self-evident truth (again the assumptions there of our modern and supposedly enlightened era).
For example, the idea that one’s sexual preference is synonymous with one’s identity is a belief.  It is an idea we believe to be true, and in the history of ideas, it is a rather recent one.
Identity language gets lots of play and lots of traction because we are modern folk with many modern assumptions.