The Most Astonishing Easter Miracle
Image: Photography by Dattu

When I visit a church, I notice things. The number of blacks, Asians, and Latinos in relation to whites. Whether women are on the platform. How people are dressed. The quality of the cars in the parking lot. I notice whether the congregation is old or young, and assume that if it’s young, it’s vibrant. As an Anglican, I notice the order of worship and naturally look down my nose at all that is liturgically incorrect. I also notice how much paper is wasted in thick worship bulletins, how much empty air is being heated needlessly above the worshipers, and other signs of environmental friendliness.

I do this because I’ve been catechized to notice all these big and little differences. I’ve been catechized not by one group but by many different groups, each with its own identity and mission. It’s a phenomenon we might call identity churchmanship.

This is a Christian version of identity politics, which has come under severe criticism as of late. But before we join the chorus of critics, we are wise to remember the value of identity politics. Groups that feel oppressed or simply misunderstood find comfort and strength in banding together around their common identity. Many scholars consider the black identity politics of the 1960s as the beginning of this wave, and it was key to the success of the civil rights movement. Black identity politics gave African Americans the courage to work together for their rights. Since that time, we’ve seen identity politics play out in terms of gender, sexual orientation, generations, disability, and many other identities.

My late brother, Steven, for example, was blind from birth. Sometime in the ’90s he joined what was a blind identity politics group, with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Reply All Subscriber Access Only
Responses to our January/February issue via letters, tweets, and Facebook posts.
RecommendedWas Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?
Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?
The historical evidence contradicts this popular notion.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
The Most Astonishing Easter Miracle
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2017

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.