The conversation is a common one, really. I hear it almost daily.
Call me by my full name. Use this title, please. I worked hard for these letters. Doctor, pastor, professor so and so. Look at the job I’ve done. See the education I have completed.
Push a little bit and see the defenses rise. It’s like there is a need to be justified, a need to be somebody special… because what, we aren’t someone special without the things we have achieved? (I know it so well, having spent years trying to be someone more than just my name) Is it not okay to just be Nathan, and let that be enough?
It makes me marvel at how we apply this to God, too… “Does it really matter what name we use for God? Is one better than another?”
And again, I see the defenses and opinions come up. “Well of course it matters! People have been wounded by certain names/pronouns/beliefs applied to God. So some are definitely better than others.” He, she, Father, Mother, God, Allah, mystery, source, Life, no name, many names…
Trying to justify the worthiness of something by what we call it is a frustrating endless cycle that can never end with all parties satisfied. A question comes and interrupts everything… “Does God care what names we use?” Really. Does the Divine Life force that gives all things being, that is bigger and smaller and more sustaining than any of us little people could ever understand care what names we use or don’t use? Does life need my particular opinions about it to be worthy unto itself?
And what about this indwelling that is in you? Does it need your accomplishments to make you worthy of the most gentle and overwhelming love? Where does your need for titles and recognition come from? Surely not from the one whose worthiness is inherent in being itself.
And where does that leave us as humans who have the opportunity to recognize and speak that inherent worth into all things we encounter? We MUST remind each other of our worth. We must recognize the worth of all things and all people. Because the Life that gives everything and everyONE life is non-discriminating in its gifting. We must call and raise up worth all around us by growing, nurturing, embracing, affirming, and welcoming. This is basic, it’s inherent… and without it, all we can do is judge, perform, and claim things for ourselves that we have no need to claim.