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Identity Crisis

Questions of identity dominate the headlines. The "hero" Bruce Jenner has redefined his identity as the heroine Caitlyn, while Rachel Dolezal identifies herself not as the race she was born as, but as a culturally black woman. Our parents told us, “You can be anything you want to be.” I don’t think they expected us to take them so literally.

The real question is, who has the right to determine our identity? Is it our society? Are we determined by whatever role we play in the larger community? This has been tried and retried, and always found wanting. Is it our families? In many cultures, children live to live up to their parents’ dreams and expectations. There is something truly noble, and yet simultaneously very base about this. Is it the self? Doubtless this has filled the vacuum for our culture.

William Ernest Henley’s poem has sadly become our battle cry, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” I fear the moral bankruptcy of individualism will eventually come to repossess. Where will this lead us? My guess is to radical moral relativism, a scary and dark place if there ever was one: Lord of the Flies without the rescue, where everyone sets their own, often Orwellian rules.

I suggest a controversial, but valuable alternative. Actually, it is more of a reiteration of what has dominated Western Civilization for nearly two millennia. Our Creator determines our identity. God stamped his Image on human beings and endowed each of us with dignity, morality and intrinsic value. He’s the Captain of our souls. We are who He has made and declared us to be.

Does this belief make someone a cultural Neanderthal, a moral dinosaur, or an out of touch fundamentalist? Some might say so. Not to worry about labels, our identity has already been determined elsewhere.

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Lilly Grant News Release

NEWS RELEASE FOR RECIPIENTS OF GRANTS IN THE 2019 NATIONAL CLERGY RENEWAL PROGRAM
First Baptist Church of Haverhill has received a grant of $49,980.00 to enable its minister, Pastor Rick Harrington, to participate in the 2019 National Clergy Renewal Program. First Baptist Church of Haverhill is one of 150 congregations across the United States selected to participate in this competitive grant program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Established by the Endowment in 2000, the program’s grants allow Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.  Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite that may include travel, study, rest, …

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“How to Find a Church” Endorsements

Listed alphabetically:


“Rick Harrington's book How to Find a Church is an excellent and informative read. The titles of each chapter clearly outline the steps a person would take in understanding the value of church, and in finding the proper one for themselves. Various scenarios are openly discussed in both truth and humor, highlighting the complexity of the human soul's search for belonging.”
Pastor Rick Amendola, New Life Christian Assembly of God.
"In a winsome, concise and uncanny way, Pastor Rick Harrington takes the confusion, anxiety, and weirdness out of finding a church family.I encourage those that have given up looking for a faith community or those actively seeking a faith community to read How to Find a Church to assist them in their journey to the relational joys of life together in Christ's Church."
The Reverend Canon Brian Bethke, the Anglican Diocese in New England.
“Choosing a local church can be one of the most formative decisions a person makes. H…