Saturday, December 3, 2011

Who are You?

Who am I? A pretty standard question. Sometimes asked in confusion, such as in situations of amnesia, questioning one's true identity, or having Alzheimer's, shouting it while flying through the air and tackling someone ("Scrubs", anyone?). It can also be a deep question, requiring some thoughts. Look back at your life, and you'll often wonder who you are compared to who you were. Or, when a major dilemma comes up, it may cause you to question yourself. Or even when a major life change occurs, you may be pondering just what kind of person you've become as a result of it (I had one of those a couple years ago... check out this blog about it!) But, it's important that we have that sense of identity to allow us to truly understand ourselves, as well as our relationship with out Heavenly Father.
So, quick side tangent: I love punk. I've been into punk since junior high, and it's just fun. It's loud and aggressive and very expressive (well, some times, at least). I also love ska, because when it comes to having fun with music, it's hard to beat ska. I will now reference a couple bands to illustrate my point. DRI is a hardcore punk band from the '80s. In a song entitled "Who Am I?" (fitting, right?), they raise that very question (over and over again). "Who am I?... A human being... This strange thing... Not what I seem." And there you have pretty much the whole song. It's a short one. Kurt Brecht poses the question, then answers it. He is a human being, a strange thing, and not what he seems. He reasserts this several times, until culminating in affirming (repeatedly) the his DRI... DRI... DRI. That's his identity. Jumping over a bit to a band that I absolutely adore, We Are the Union. They do an awesome job of meshing punk with ska. They have a song entitled "Ourcore", which is a song all about their individuality and refusal to fall into a cookie cutter mold. A line they use towards the end (that often gets in my head) goes "We're just being who we are! We take the road less traveled by!". A powerful line, referencing famous poetry, put to angry punk/ska riffs. What more can you ask for?
Both these bands, in their songs, raise very profound points on their identity, that we as members of the church should be able to relate to. Kurt Brecht answers the question saying he's not what he seems. How accurate is that of church members? We seem like the everyday person, but really we're covenant people. We have a higher standard because we have more awareness of the desires of our Heavenly Father for us. We Are the Union assert that what they do is who they are, and that involves taking the less traveled road and not just following the crowd. I think about this in terms of my mission: I often wonder what people think of us when we're out in public in regular clothes. They obviously have no reason to assume that we're Mormon missionaries, they're just going to assume we're regular twenty-some year old guys. Well, the average twenty-something year old guy has quite the reputation, and it's not entirely unfounded. So, when a group of us missionaries, disguised in regular clothes, are out in public, I wonder if people notice that we're not swearing, or talking about girls or how drunk we got. It's an interesting thought.
And more than just members of the church, everybody has an identity (obviously). How many of our brothers and sisters don't even know who they truly are? Romans 8:16 tells us: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God". We ARE children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. Each of us is loved, and each of us has that lineage. That's who we are: Children of God. And this should influence us in many ways. As we are Children of God, we should be willing to do what He asks, just like we would our earthly parents. Also, we should take it upon ourselves to teach those around us their true identity. EVERYONE is a Child of God, and He loves us all.

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