Issue 27: Identity

“We the people . . .” So begins the familiar first line to the Preamble of the United States Constitution. But even in its initial context, in a document intended to be a manifesto of hope and freedom, the matter of who exactly was to be included in this “we” was unclear and contested. First-person pronouns (i.e., I and we) roll off the tongue–or onto parchment paper–with ease, but their common use often belies an underlying complexity. Who am I? Who are we? Who does my theology say that I am?

Identity is at the same time essential to life and yet also deeply contested, problematic, and enigmatic. The world may be becoming more one and, yet, it seems also to be becoming more different, fragmented, agonistic, and isolated. In this issue of The Other Journal, we will explore the valences of identity, both individual and communal, personal and public. We will take up the theme of identity in multiple ways, examining its interconnections with sexuality, pluralism and authenticity, the dissolution and reconstitution of borders, racial divisions, and, yes, even the 2016 presidential campaign.

T. M. Lawson

Tit for Tat

In this poem by T. M. Lawson, a woman visits her mother in the hospital to say goodbye.

Katherine James

Being Pretty

Katherine James contemplates the fleetingness of beauty as she faces cancer and aging.

Caitlin Causey

At Least They Have a Target

Caitlin Causey accepts the curious comfort of a chain store as she seeks a place to call home.

Oluwatomisin Oredein


Tomi Oredein offers her take on some of the beautiful ways we are human.

Janna Barber

Better than Perfect

Janna Barber learns to accept the prickly bits and sweet scents of a mother/daughter relationship.

Ryan Dueck

An Unnatural Order

The arrival of Syrian refugees to a small city on the Canadian prairies is an occasion for Ryan Dueck to reflect upon who we really think we are.

Alexandria Barbera

Evangelicals and the End of Civic Religion

Alexandria Barbera reflects on the Republican politics that undergird evangelical faith and how this sets Trump up for success among conservative evangelicals.

republican politics
Justin R. Phillips

Jesus and the Dispossessed

In light of the 2016 presidential campaign, Justin Randall Phillips analyzes the ways in which American evangelicalism is the product and reflection of racial division.

racial division