Taking Our Identity Back to the Basics
By Amanda Hudson
By now hopefully everyone knows that Pope Francis’ sentences about persons with same-sex attraction were taken apart and reconfigured with important points left out. 
At times his answers were placed as answers to new questions, and all of that manipulation skewed the meanings of his words and their original context. It is as though we ourselves would be asked “What color is cauliflower?” and later discover that our response has been placed after a new question of “What is the superior race?”
Aside from being amazed, yet again, at how people like the director of the film think that God doesn’t know or care what they do, one sentence did stand out for me: “They are children of God ...”
How many of us start there when we think of ourselves and others? If being a child of God was the first thing we would think of whenever we are asked a question along the lines of “Who are you?” we would be so much more likely to live our lives with God as our loving father and creator and guide. Starting there would be good for every person, no matter their heritage or orientation or any challenges they face in life.
People’s self-identity is reflected in their approach to life, including what they value and admire, how they address problems, how they see other people and how they view the world around them and the future.
Christianity is, at its core, all about our relationship with Jesus, our Father and the Holy Spirit. We know we are capable of knowing and communicating with God, to some extent at least. And we are greatly blessed once we realize that God actually loves us, truly cares about us, and is willing to work with us in our efforts to grow in faith and love. Knowing that gives us hope in ourselves and others, and hope for the future. So many people don’t have that assurance and suffer deeply without it.
We must be aware that everyone, Christian or not, can’t help but project their worldviews in what they say and do. Communications happen. And if we are not careful to continually connect with our Lord, we will be vulnerable to adopting other views of life.
We may, for example, know that we are never totally alone because God is Some One, not an impersonal “force” in the universe. But such knowledge does not necessarily prevent our absorbing that non-Christian view to a greater or lesser extent from some very enjoyable films.
Of course, many movies and other media are created by other-faith-minded people. Without realizing it, we may begin to view ourselves from their perspective as we allow those often-entertaining products to come in to our homes and minds. They may not be especially “bad” in their messages, but they can make it more challenging to keep God in the forefront of our approach to life.
It’s important not to underestimate how easily we can assimilate things around us.
For example, a new book called “Pulp Vietnam” written by a retired US Army Colonel examines the masculine archetypes portrayed by the media during the Vietnam War. Those adventure magazines gave young men unrealistic, warped views of masculinity that still echo in society. 
Those were printed magazines. Consider how much more easily we can absorb non-Christian presentations through more modern, sensory-loaded media.
The ability for us to live our “children of God” identity in the midst of so much that is not Christian happens only with vigilance. We can’t leave it to chance.
As we hunker down in these days of COVID, it is important — more than we may realize — to fill our eyes and ears and minds with what feeds our faith, not just with secular entertainment. We are responsible, and we have the freedom to choose what will boost our connection with God and inspire us to see ourselves as children of God.
May we claim our true identity as we continue on!