Is Reformed Important? Friday Night Outline

Dr. Sean Michael Lucas

New St. Peters PC, Dallas, TX

October 26-27, 2007

Who Are You?: Understanding Identity

When you think about who you are, what comes to mind?

  • Son, upper middle class, suburbs, two parents married 38 years, one sister
  • Moved many times, mainly up an ddown the I-95 corridor between Washingong DC, and NYC.
  • Husband, married nearly 14 years, four children
  • Became a believer when a teenager–unusual religious journey
  • Pastor with scholarly bent; historian with a pastor heart
  • Writer and reader–love Mark Twain and Wendell Barry
  • Gardner
  • Avid sports fan–Indiana sports teams
  • Springsteen, U2, country music
  • Trucks, Fords, but when I follow NAsCAR, I am a Gordon fan.

Three Key Aspects to identify.


  • the core understandings that form and motivate what and how I practice; they are also reinforced by these practices and by my stories.


  • The regular activities that I engage in shape my understanding of myself and the world.


  • narratives that help to make sense of what I believe and what I do.

“Identity Crisis”

  • When someone is having an “identity crisis,” he/she has become disillusioned or is experiencing dissonance within her core.
    • Perhaps produced through a lengthy questionaing of previously held beliefs.
    • Perhaps caused through an interruption of key practices that reinforced identity.
    • Perhaps result of a disillusionment with the master story
  • A version of this identity crisis would be the “mid-life crisis.”

Identity Formation in “Modernity” and “Post-Modernity”

Pre- and Early Modernity

  • Social relations and family connections
  • Trade generally passed on through generatons.
  • Church connections more by birth than over belief.
  • Identity fairly stric==pre-determined by others and before birth.

Late and Post-Modernity

  • Social mobility, loss of extended and nuclear family.
  • Trades determined through interest,
  • Church connections determined by belief less than birt; challenge to lay on any type of denominationalism
  • Identity radically dynamic-self-created through choices

Forging Christian identity

The transition from “non-religious” [non-Christian] to “religious” (Christian] identity.

  • New Beliefs–from Idolatry to faith in Father, Sond, Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:9)
  • New Practices–from non-observent to observant (Ephesians 4:17-24)
  • New Stories—from “self-determined” to divinely determined within the story of Israel and the Church as found in the Bible.
  • The forging of Christian Identity is varied and common
    • Varied:
      • No two transitions are exactly the same
      • No two experiences of sin, grace, faith, repentance are exactly the same
    •  Common:
      • The need experience by all human beings is the same
      • The Gospel embraced by all believers is the same
      • The grace granted to believers is the same
  •  The means for forging Christian identity (Acts 2:42-47)
    • Word
    • Sacraments
    • Prayer
    • Fellowship

Tomorrow, I’ll post Saturday night’s outline.


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