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Post Modernism: The Case for Rachel Dolezal

Credit: Brandon Watts/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Brandon Watts/Flickr/Creative Commons

You might have heard of Rachel Dolezal, also known by her new legal name Nkechi Amare Diallo. She was once the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington.

Her parents, who apparently had been Pentecostal Missionaries in Africa, exposed her as a white woman with Czech, German, and Scandinavian ancestors, and she was forced to resign in disgrace. Today Rachel, or Nkechi, is labeled as a liar and a fraud and life is difficult for her. She is famous enough to have her own article in Wikipedia, and you can read more about her interesting life.

Rachel is someone I have never met, and probably never will, but I know there are some lessons for us in her story, and Christians should be careful with their judgment.

Rachel Dolezal is an expression of a philosophy called Post Modernism. Most of us live in Modernism, with the idea that people belong to groups, them and us, and the differences between groups never change.

With that thinking, it is impossible to identify as African if your ancestors came from Europe and your skin is pale. But these ideas are philosophies, and they are not correct because we believe them.

Post Modernism is “self referential” and the truth is your truth, or my truth. It is becoming a very powerful force in society, which is why so many things are changing around us. One of the biggest controversies these days is men who identify as women and want to use female washrooms.

If I believe that I own my truth, that arrangement could make sense, and I you don’t believe, it sounds crazy.

Recently, a man who identified as a woman was transferred to a women’s prison. The authorities are starting to respect Post Modern ideas. There is a popular song “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, and have you noticed, we are now starting to “identify this way” instead. Modernism is fading.

I worked in colleges and universities, and I learned that the liberal, leftist, progressive modernists were dangerous for my career. It was easy to lose a job or a promotion if I was too bold about being a Christian, and I have lived with the sneers of people who thought I was an antique curiosity.

There is a price to pay if you want to follow Jesus, but the Bible tells us “Do not be conformed to this world.” (Romans 12:2)

There are Post Modern Christians, usually associated with house churches and with words like “emerging church” and “missional living.” I am not one of them, I believe God made me His child when I trusted Him to care for me, and the change is eternal. I am not a Christian because I identify this way.

Based on what I have read, I have some sympathy for Rachel Dolezal. We can’t change our basic nature by identifying as something else, and the Modernist world will punish us if we try. She will pay a price for her convictions.

But I know I am a new person in Jesus, and a Christian from Africa or India, or China is my brother or sister. We identify as something new; God’s family. I will pay a price for that conviction.

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands.

Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

And he came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have our access in one spirit to the father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household. (Ephesians 2: 11 to 19)

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