Silvi Pirn

In 2022 through meetings and activities, the IMPACT program invites high school youth to explore the theme of Division through the lens of our Christian faith. What divides us and keeps us divided? How do we know we are divided? How might God’s love show us a way across division?

I invite you to explore this theme with us through an exercise our IMPACT meeting participated in earlier this month.

Social identity plays an important part in how we see ourselves and others. It has the power to bring people together and drive people apart. I invite you to take a few moments to consider your own social identity using this wheel that was adapted from a University of Michigan exercise.

Here are examples to get you started.
Gender: are you man or woman? Transgender?
Status: are you the boss? An employee? Working or retired? Married or divorced? Vaccinated or unvaccinated?
Beliefs: are you conservative? Liberal? Apolitical? Masker? Anti-masker?
Interests: Yoga? Football? Reading? Video games? Social media? Knitting?
Health: Are you strong and healthy? Are you addicted? Disabled or dealing with chronic illness?
Body: Large or small? Fit or flabby? Strong or weak?
History: Are you a Michigan alum or Michigan State? Third generation in the firm or first-generation immigrant? You get the idea.

Chances are that when you consider all your social identities, you boast about some, hardly think about others, and even hide a few.

Now see what happens when you lay “Christ’s Identity Wheel,” over the Social Identity wheel. This new wheel is adapted from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1: 3–14, not University of Michigan. It is far from comprehensive but gives a good idea of who we can really claim to be.

When we lay this new wheel over the old one, something happens. Status becomes “Forgiven”, Sexuality becomes “Accepted”, Ethnicity becomes “God’s own family”, Interests become “Predestined with purpose”, Body becomes “loved” and so on.

A few final questions: Can you see yourselves in Christ’s Identity Wheel? How does this wheel affect how you see yourself? What happens when you see others this way?

It is worth remembering who you really are and whose we all are.