Identity Theft? How About Identity Loss

Identity theft is real and causes a tom of damage to people's lives that can take years to straighten out. As such, and rightly so, identity theft gets a lot of press coverage. And as common as identity theft may be identity loss may be just as common. 

Identity loss is that thing that happens when we identify as someone but then, due to many and varied reasons, we no longer do/can. This happens to us throughout our lives, like when we move from one job to another and you now identify as "the boss". It also happens at all ages, like when a child moves through grade school and no longer identifies as the "big kids". It can happen very suddenly, like when a child is born and you no longer identify as single. It can also happen gradually, like when you realize that you no longer are the one everyone seeks advise from.

When one is a victim of identity theft, there are a number of people who can help you recover lost money or property. A credit card company can cancel the transaction, the bank can track the check, the website will issue new passwords, government can track down thieves, insurance can cover the loss, etc. 

When we experience identity loss, often times we are on our own. We just have to feel our way into a new identity, like when a child dies and we no longer identify as the "parent of ...". We have to just "suck it up" that things are different now when we are fired and we are not "employee". We have to quickly "get over it" when our team moves and we no longer identify as a "Brooklyn Dodger fan". There can be social stigma around the middle aged man who dates younger women or the middle aged woman who dresses like a twenty year old might neither who are able to let go of an identity. We do not know what to do when we are no longer identified as a "leader". We do not know what to do when after an accident and we are no longer able to identify as a "soccer player".  

I believe this is in part why the Church is needed in the world. Church has rituals that help when we suffer from some forms of identity loss. This is why weddings, funerals, baptisms, singing, corporate worship and other rituals and practices of the Church matter. We use ritual to grieve the identity loss so that we can explore and embrace a new identity. 

Additionally, the Church is the place that says that you have an identity that cannot be stolen and you cannot lose - you are forever identified as a beautiful, beloved child of God.