You're labeled. You exposed your skin and now that's what everyone knows. You're strong and beautiful, just like toast, or you're from that place where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average"
I'm a climate scientist, Christian, evangelical, African, biker, parent, white, scuba diver, bass guitarist, fan of Dr. Who, love debate, etc.
My favorite authors are borderline catholic, yet I'm non-denominational and low-church, I believe in biological evolution, miracles, that I have a soul, and life after death. I learn a lot from atheists, I have a lot of questions.
Think you know me now?
How about you? What are you ... atheist, agnostic, fundamentalist, libertarian, democrat, recovering alcoholic, abused, extrovert, timid, blue collar worker, NSA agent, politician, housewife, terrorist, freedom fighter, tree hugger, eco-nut, intellectual, vegan, carnivore, middle aged, patriot, socialist .... do these work for you?
These are not me. These are not you.
Labels are a tool that you and I use to make other people safe for us to deal with. Labels contain, limit, and define. They place boundaries on what's included and what's excluded. Labels are expressions of power.
If I call you an aggressive overbearing misogynist, or a pathetic timid weakling, or a pretentious parochial pedantic twit -- these are all part of a power game to belittle you and exert my power. Or I might equally label you as awesome, beautiful, sexy, rich, intelligent. Then I'm just trying to exert influence over you by currying favor and get you to notice me.
Real people are messy, with unknown histories behind a facade that's tuned to society. Real relationships are messier ... like mixing one pot of goulash with another.
Exposing the real person is scary - to the person exposing themselves, and to the one seeing it for the first time. What a mess you and I really are - and if you think otherwise you're deluding yourself. I used to think that when I was grown up I would be mature, on top of things, in control. All that really happened was that I became more and more aware of my metaphysical intestinal rumination - a twisted, tortuous, tangled mess trying to extract nutrition from the experiences flowing through me. And emerging at the end ...?
Churches are one of the worst places for labels. Just look at the splintering of denominations, the frictions between catholic and protestant and methodist and baptist. Churches use labels in an embarrassing and judgmental way ("hey there, you sinner"), even when its true!
So labels are useful, inevitable, practical, dangerous and limiting.
Is there any label that does not constrain, does not box us, that frees us rather than controls us? Jesus looked behind the labels, except for one.
I submit: "Child of God"