Saturday Symposium: Labels, Identities, and Ideologies

Hello, Readers! Thank you for another week of fun and challenging discussion. We love hearing your feedback. We have finally caught up on all the email we received two weeks ago, but we’re still playing catch-up this week, so please forgive us if we are slow in answering your queries.

Before asking this week’s question, we would like to share with you some of the most thought-provoking writing we’ve found in the blogosphere this week. We hope you will enjoy reading these as much as we have:

  • Our friend Julie Rodgers has written two insightful pieces for Spiritual Friendship this week. In “The Vulnerability of Hope,” she focuses on the theme of loneliness in the celibate life. Her complement piece, “Everyday Intimacy Played Out,” highlights the need for celibate people to live richly connected lives.
  • Preston Yancey’s blog hosted a guest post from an anonymous author this week. “What Women Want from the Church: To Have (and Enjoy) Sex” shares a personal experience of living in a sexless marriage and makes some important observations about the purity culture that is present in many Christian traditions.
  • Sarah Bessey’s blog hosted a guest post from Mary DeMuth titled, “In Which These 21 Things Shouldn’t Be Said to Sexual Abuse Victims.” Great advice from the perspective of a sexual abuse survivor. Be sure to check it out!
  • Finally, a totally random link that Sarah found while we were snowed in on Thursday: the true story of what happened to Stella Liebeck, the woman who sued McDonald’s after she was burned by hot coffee. Though a soundbite of the actual story has been part of American culture for several years, we had never heard all the facts of the case. We were drawn to this story because it is a great example of how things are not always as they seem.

Now, we would like to share with you our new “Saturday Symposium” question.

How this works: It’s very simple. We ask a multi-part question related to a topic we’ve blogged about during the past week or are considering blogging about in the near future, and you, our readers, share your responses in the comments section. Feel free to be open, reflective, and vulnerable…and to challenge us. But as always, be mindful of the comment policy that ends each of our posts. Usually, we respond fairly quickly to each comment, but in order to give you time to think, come back, add more later if you want, and discuss with other readers, we will wait until after Monday to respond to comments on Saturday Symposium questions.

This week’s Saturday Symposium question: This week, two of our posts dealt with issues of labels, identities, and ideologies. In “How to Talk with Others about A Queer Calling,” we discussed the language that has been used by others to describe our relationship and our writing project, and we clarified our preferences for labels with which we are comfortable. In “Seeking Color in a Black and White World,” Sarah reflected on how being quick to label a person in terms of politics or ideology can cause one to miss the nuances and complexities of that person’s experience. This week, we would like to know: how do you feel about categories and labels for ideologies and life experiences? Are there certain labels you find helpful in describing your identity, experience, and worldview to others? Are there labels that you feel are thrust upon you without your consent? Is it possible to move beyond the use of certain labels, or are labels a necessary part of communication?

We look forward to reading your responses. If you’re concerned about having your comment publicly associated with your name, please consider using the Contact Us page to submit your comment. We can post it under a pseudonym (i.e. John says, “your comment”) or summarize your comment in our own words (i.e. One person observed…). Participating in this kind of public dialogue can be risky, and we want to do what we can to protect you even if that means we preserve your anonymity. Have a wonderful weekend!


Sarah and Lindsey

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.