Identity Milestones: Introduction

September 26, 2022

Identity Milestones: Introduction

Bill Peirson

Milestones are important for identity. As we prepare this edition, questions of our national identity as Australians are in the air. One milestone has just passed, as we mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Another looms on the horizon as we prepare for a referendum on an Indigenous voice to Parliament. Both will have ramifications for who we become as a nation.

This year, CASE turns twenty. Established with the aim of providing a forum for Christian interaction with contemporary intellectual and social concerns, we continue this mission today. Some of the issues have changed. We talk less of truth and more of stories; less of post-modernism and more of post-Christendom. The ‘new media’ of the early years of the millennium, which we now take for granted, brought with it ‘on demand’ everything, ubiquitous porn, and the mediation of life through social media. The consequences of its dominance are crystallising in crises of mental health, identity, and security. Instead of debating the existence of climate change, we now argue about how best to mitigate its disastrous impacts. Conversations about the divorce rate and same-sex marriage have given way to discussions of gender (the topic of our next edition of Case Quarterly), and consent.

We marked our ten year milestone with a ‘best of’ edition of CQ which led with an article tracking contemporary trends in apologetics. We originally planned a similar publication to mark this next significant birthday. As we reviewed the content of the last decade, though, we couldn’t help but notice a significant increase in articles dealing with issues of personal identity in one way or another: personhood, ethnicity, sexuality, embodiment, enhancement, choice, gender, purpose. Personal identity was also the focus of the 2017 New College Lectures delivered by Dr Brian Rosner, who is returning this year to share his subsequent reflections on the topic in a lecture entitled ‘Finding Yourself’ (see back cover).

Given this coincidence, we have taken the opportunity to publish a collection of CQ articles and columns relevant to personal identity from across the last decade, together with an excerpt from Brian Rosner’s latest book, How to find yourself. We’ve grouped these together under five headings reflecting different aspects of identity: Created Beings, Embodied Beings, Social Beings, Cultural Beings, and Purposeful Beings.

This collection is by no means complete. No content is included from the past few issues, which will still be fresh in the minds of subscribers, and in a bid to cover as many facets of identity as possible we’ve given preference to shorter pieces. However, if you’re interested in reading more check out the longer articles listed below.

The identity of CASE hasn’t changed over the years. We don’t know what milestones lie ahead, but pray that by God’s grace, we will continue to serve him, his people, and the wider community, as we present Christian perspectives on the issues we face today and into the future. 

Sexuality and self-identity (#35)

Kamal & Patricia Weerakoon

Manufacturing Belief (#36)

Dani Scarratt

This is my body (#37)

Scott Stephens

Aboriginal spirituality and Christianity (#38)

Ray Minniecon

Stories of suffering, redemption and hope (#43)

John Wyatt

Freed for a purpose (#45)

Tim Bradford

Is the Bible racist? (#48)

Kirk Patston

The need to be known (#49)

Brian Rosner

Personhood in theory and practice (#49)

Alan Gijsbers

To rule over and subdue the creation (#50)

Michael Stead

Healing, enhancement and the human future (#53)

Denis Alexander

Hope: Psychology and theology in conversation (#56)

Leisa Aitken


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