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The Way I See It

Monday 26th July 2021

Hi! My name is Stewart and…

And what? What do you say next? It’s a big list. I’m loads of things. And you are too. So what do we choose to say to identify ourselves, and why?

Sometimes we answer the invitation to introduce ourselves with something relevant to the situation we are in. If we’re at a BB meeting we will say which Company we come from and perhaps which Battalion or maybe which age group we work with. So, I’m Stewart Cutler, Chaplain of 1st Stonehouse in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Or perhaps we talk about our hobbies to try to find common interests to help move the conversation along. I support Motherwell so I’ve probably already met all the other fans already. I’m a runner so we could talk 5K times, toe nails that fell off after a marathon or that the Lakefront Trail in Chicago is the best place I’ve ever run.

Whatever we say puts us in some kind of context that we hope other people find helpful… or not. We’ve all listened to someone reel off their qualifications or position to remind everyone of their status or that they are smarter than you. I’ve been to college and university four times and I can assure you that I’m not smarter than any of you!

One of the things I don’t hear often in an introduction is someone saying they are a Christian. And to be honest I don’t say it either. And that strikes me as odd. Why not? Why don’t I say it?

I don’t think I have ever introduced myself by saying, ‘Hi! My name is Stewart and I’m a Christian.’ I’ve been one all of my life. I’ve worked for the Church for 30 years. So why isn’t ‘I’m a Christian’ the first thing I say in any situation? Shouldn’t it be more important than the fact that I support Motherwell and listen to Bruce Springsteen, or even that I’m married and have children?

Jesus says some pretty hard things about identity, even some stuff about hating your family. We shy away from those bits because we don’t really know what to do with them. Why would anyone want to hate their siblings or turn away from their parents? It wouldn’t be by choice, would it?

People were, and still are, defined by their families. You were known as your father’s son and you carried their name as well as your own and all that goes with that. We still do. Jesus would be Jesus ben-Joseph. I’m Jim’s son, for good or ill.

What Jesus is offering is a way to break free of that reputation stuff that has nothing to do with who you really are. He wasn’t just Joseph’s boy. He was God’s Son and we are also children of God. That lets us leave behind what other people think about us, step away from our past, break free of all the expectations and assumptions, and take up a new identity as a follower of Jesus… and all that goes with it.

That becomes our primary identity. The first and most important thing. It always has been. So, Hi! I’m Stewart and I’m a Christian. It’s good to meet you.

Rev Stewart Cutler
Chaplain, 1st Stonehouse

 

Stewart is… well, a Christian. He spends most of his time being minister of St Ninian’s Church in Stonehouse which means he has become very familiar with YouTube, podcasts and social media. He lives with wife Avril and their two Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers called Aonghus and Magnus.

 

 

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