“If religion once served as a sacred canopy of meaning, we since seem to have grown quite comfortable living under a naked sky.”1

By Scott Hughes

Scott is Director of Adult Discipleship for Discipleship Ministries and CEF Board Member, and has a blog series over on the Discipleship Ministries Website. Here’s a sample:

Who are you? No, not “What do you do professionally or where are you in school?” Not, “What generational demographic or ethnicity or country or sub-culture do you most align yourself with?” I mean, really, who are you? Certainly, answers to those other questions are important and play a role in who you are, but underneath those questions what makes you, you?

To go one step further, does what you do reflect your deepest held beliefs? Are your beliefs and actions in alignment? Do you know your purpose in this life?

Perhaps I’m laying it on a little thick with all the questions. But these are some of the questions that can haunt us if we’re still long enough. On the other hand, answers to these questions can give us our deepest convictions and perspectives for viewing the world.

These are difficult questions, because the answers may seem, not just difficult, but too fluid to really nail down. One day we check the “married” demographic check mark; and the next, “divorced.” Or we’ve gone from “employed” to “unemployed” or even “retired.” It seems only yesterday we checked the box with a lower age bracket than our birthday now suggests we fit. Determining our identity and our purpose seems elusive. Some seek fulfillment through work; others, through spirituality. Might religion, specifically United Methodist Christianity, have anything to offer in developing identity and purpose? I believe it does. I hope you’ll follow this blog as we explore this topic together – Forming a religious identity “under a naked sky.”

Scott Hughes is Director of Adult Discipleship for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. He is also a CEF Board Member. Check out his blog hereThis biweekly blog will be exploring issues around identity creation. Each short blog post will have reflective questions for church leaders and for individuals. 


1. Porpora, Douglas V. Landscapes of the Soul: The Loss of Moral Meaning in American Life. Oxford University Press, 2001; p. 96