Gardendale Nazarene

to live completely for Christ...

Identity | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene


Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to make my way through a book called Negotiating the Nonnegotiable. Sounds exciting, eh?

It is actually a pretty interesting read and I have enjoyed thinking through the ideas presented by the author. The author, Daniel Shapiro, has spent a great deal of his professional life working with people who are in the midst of conflict around the world– from Serbians to Israelis.

In one of the workshops he runs, he will break professionals into teams (or tribes as he calls them) and ask them to reach consensus on a list of issues in fifty minutes. This task is designed to be nearly impossible. After the fifty minutes are up, he will insert a twist. All the tribes now have to join and agree on one tribe to be the defining tribe of the group.

The point of this exercise is for the people to see how strongly they adopt their first tribe's stances on the issues. Fifty minutes ago, they didn't even know the people in their tribe, now they are fighting to defend their tribe.

Shapiro calls this "The Tribes Effect." The primary point of his book is the issue of identity and how it relates to conflict. People identified with their first tribe and fought to defend a position that they might not have held an hour before.

Where do we get our identity? Theologian David Lose writes, “Our identity comes from the people with whom we hang out and is always received, rather than created. It comes, that is, always as a gift and a promise. And that’s why it’s so important to be reminded that you only know who you are when you realize whose you are.”

You are God’s beloved child.

In these days where the world tells you who you are, we must be reminded of the truth. If your identity is reinforced by who you spend time with, make sure you spend time with the people of God.

My challenge to you is to remind one another whose they are. Come together as the family of God and fellowship, laugh, share meals together, and most importantly, remind each other that they have value, worth, and purpose.