What's Your Label?

what's your label cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward


Several cans are on the beach. One’s labeled “Atheist”, another “Agnostic”, another “Other”, and another “Believer”. They look at another can without a label getting a tan with a big smile on its face. The “Believer” asks, “But what is he?”

Labels are useful for others to know what your contents are.

They’re also convenient for you to describe what your contents are.

But they’re just words.

You are always changing, shifting, morphing.
One label is not your full story.

A key component to deconstructing our beliefs is losing your anxiety over labeling yourself.

But this doesn’t mean others won’t lose their anxiety over labeling you.

Because if you’re okay with the flowing river that is you, then you will be fine without a label.

But if you go without a label, you will frustrate people.

When you are fine with holding your impermanent “I” loosely, then you drop the labels.

Then you must resist the external pressure to label yourself. But when you are at peace with yourself, then you can let people worry while you remain tranquil.

There's nothing wrong with labels. We appreciate and respect them. But they're partial. I'm asked, “Are you a Christian?” “Are you an agnostic?” “Are you an atheist?” I answer, “Yes!” But if pressed, I will say I have a healthy believer, agnostic, and atheist within, and I care for them all.

I say, “My home's in Christianity, but I have cottages everywhere!”

I'm no longer concerned with my or your labels. That's all they are: words stuck to the outside which aren’t accurate indicators of your complex self they attempt to describe.

You are like a river, deep, mysterious, and impermanent.

Love yourself as you are, whatever that is.

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