Tag Archives: identity

Christian Comment column June 09

Who would you like to be today?

It’s a question that’s increasingly normal in a world where many of us would really rather be someone else.

Twenty-five years ago, the only people you’d tend to find trying to be someone else were a raft of early adopter Elvis impersonators, Mike Yarwood and Faith Brown.

Now, every third person seems to be an Elvis impersonator and there are people who have made careers from looking like someone else.

Add to that, the number of us seeking cosmetic surgery to try to improve on what we’ve been given, and the countless millions taking on alternative personalities online, and you’ve got a stack of us uncomfortable in our own skins.

Instant messaging gives us the option of user names or avatars (‘online personalities’ often depicted using cartoon-style illustration) that disguise who we really are.

And social networking services like Twitter allow us to take on an entirely new personality if we want to.

I have a character on Twitter called Brandon Cummerbund.

He’s an Edwardian gentleman of a certain age whose household constantly staggers from one crisis to the next, mostly involving food, servants and escaped animals.

I don’t want to “be” him, but it’s amusing to create him as a character and see where he goes.

Second Life, meanwhile, occupies a staggering number of people around the world, with an increasing number making real money from a virtual world that only exists in cyberspace.

It’s hard to get your head round.

Perhaps some of our unhappiness with who we are stems from our beliefs on what we’re doing on planet earth in the first place.

If we think we’re random accidents with no real meaning or purpose, it’s no wonder we’re endlessly restless, trying to find a skin that fits or a life we feel at home in.

Christians believe we’re each unique – made in the image of God but with endless variety, imagination and diversity.

The Bible says we’re precious to the creator, and he cares deeply about the smallest detail of our lives.

Have a read of Psalm 139 if you don’t believe me.

God’s take on you is this – you matter.

Your value and worth have nothing to do with your looks, your job or the car you drive.

You were created to know him, and to live life to the full as the person he made you to be.

There’s stuff he’s planned that only you can do.

And that could make life an even bigger adventure than dodgy versions of Heartbreak Hotel.

Russ Bravo is the editor of Inspire magazine published by CPO, and is part of St Matthew’s Church, Tarring.

He is also a poet and songwriter, and runs Matt’s Comedy Club.

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Workshop

‘I’d rather be a hammer
than a nail’
goes the song
Although many of us
may feel that we are
neither the hammer
nor the nail,
but the piece of wood
on the end of it all.

And some of us
have been nailed so much
we are now full of holes
and have forgotten
what we are meant
to be.

Splintered and battered
we career from one
moment to the next,
surprised by time
which rarely waits for us
and often arrives
all at once.

Yet it may be
that we are in fact
works of art
being shaped by
an imaginative sculptor
who knows what we are
to end up as
and is prepared to
chip
chisel
plane
hammer
and shave off
our roughness
and inhumanity
until we resemble
who we were
created to be.

The hammer
and the nail
play their part
but only the wood
can become the
finished article.

One day I will be whole
and no
longer
full
of
them

2 June 2009 (in the Sally Army cafe, London)

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