Lent 10 : I prefer my old name

God seems to love changing people’s names. From Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah in the Old Testament right through to Simon/Peter and Saul/Paul in the new. A change of name reflects a change of identity. That is what a lot of scripture is about. Getting a genuine change in identity centred on Love himself.

This is a huge struggle. The Israelites preferred slavery in Egypt to their freedom in God. Quite often people released from oppressive environments have no idea how to be part of free society. Their identity is tied up in their previous environment.

The desert gives us the chance to let go of a certain part of our identity that doesn’t fit our present calling. For a long time my identity was as a bassist. I was known amongst two small groups of people in London and in South India as a bass guitar player. Regardless of what my playing ability was I had an impact on a few of those people. I’m glad and privileged to have done that. Yet being a bassist now doesn’t constitute a core part of my identity. I still play and on ocassion enjoy it; but it’s not near the core of who I am called to be. This is a huge tragedy for me but it’s one that I’m learning to accept. What replaces that? I’m not sure.

Reconfiguring old identities is what so much of what scripture is about. But sometimes I prefer my old name.


3 thoughts on “Lent 10 : I prefer my old name”

  1. Dear Sunil,

    I’m struggling through my own sort of identity crisis at the moment and can relate to this post quite a bit.

    The funny thing is, when I ran into you in Bangalore, I had no idea how famous you were 🙂 I can’t remember at what point we figured out that we were distantly related but it was very comforting to know that we were. I felt like you were some kind of older brother. Plus, you came with Luiza who I instantly got along with (pretty rare for me). Then, I noticed you play the bass guitar 😛 Really, really well. But to me, you were still the guy I first met (first impressions are very difficult to shake off! In my head, sometimes you are still the person I met nearly 8 odd years ago!) – down to earth, fresh out of Bible school and working at the church that I was attending. You also had very interesting thoughts about God and were pretty funny.

    Over the years, I have met your fans 🙂 I expected them in Bangalore but not in Hyderabad. I went to a friend’s house a few years ago and saw an old picture of you in their room. Wow, he’s quite the star, I thought to myself.

    I don’t think I’ve ever talked about you in the years that you’ve been in England as much as when I was just around you in church or college. While other people tell me about you are such a great bassist, I’m telling them about how you taught us to sing with ‘gumption’ and how much you liked that word (I even used it in one of my posts recently because it’s stuck in my head ever since you added your own flavour to it!)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say. Thanks much for being honest, real, and down-to-earth. You’re a clever bassist but turns out – you can write and tell jokes too 😉

    I don’t think I know who you are becoming but seems like you were on your way long before you happen to notice.

      1. Well right now I’m not attending my church (I’m an elder (I know!!) there now so it’s a bit tricky! But I’ve told the one person that I picked to be accountable to and she thinks it’s ok that I stay away till I need to. I check in with her once in a while to let her know that I haven’t dropped off the edge or gone completely off church.) so I’m not really talking to too many people at the moment.

        If you mean, talk to in terms of the identity reconfiguration part. Then, not really. I’m just figuring it out in parts and blogging about what I’m figuring out (not all of it naturally but the main bits).

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