Thursday, March 29, 2012

Identity Theft: The Foundation of Your Life is Not What You Do, Or What You Know, But Who You Are

In the early stages of my significant period of "deconstruction", I was blessed to read "Identity Theft" by Kevin Avram and Wes Boldt. The authors are old friends who reconnected through a Divine appointment. It turns out their fellowship resulted in rich times of fellowship and sharing. The Lord was teaching them together. The result is this desperately needed book that takes us on a path to walking in our identity as sons, as opposed to laborers, orphans, or beggars.

"Identity Theft" begins with the background stories of the Avrams and the Boldts. Wes and Mary Boldt's account kicks off with the sale of the business they ran for 26 years.
Wes describes their church experience. Mary was involved in many wasy, including the worship ministry. He served on the elders board for 20 years, including several years as board chairman. And of course, they gave a lot of money. Wes describes this season of life:

"I was living on autopilot during those years. This is the only way I know how to explain why I didn't pause for even a second to consider that there might be a difference between the church as an institution and the church as a Christ-centered body of believers. I was so confident and ambitious that I didn't have time for the more organic aspect of church, including relationships. I was interested soley in building the institution. I figured if God could be pleased with a successful large church, how might He feel if we could build a successful mega-church?"

Life changed significantly after the Boldt's largest competitor offered to buy their business.

"With the removal of the business from our lives, the basis upon which I had found my identity and understood my purpose was no longer valid. My role as a check writer to the church had also stopped, meaning I was about to discover how intricately my ability to give financially had influenced, and at times, even defined, my sense of identity."

The Lord began teaching Wes and Mary about heart attitude and motivational gifts. Wes realized that he derived his self-worth and identity from his status as a business owner and position in the church. Now, in the Arizona desert, he didn't have either. And there was yet one more brutal discovery for the Boldts.

"Mary and I had sacrified endless hours and large sums of money for our church, yet it was in our desert wilderness with the institutional aspect of church was revealed. We discovered that the basis for most of our relationships had been work- and church related rather than personal. The men I ahd worked with on the elders' board disappeared out of my life. I remember how happy I was the night one of them called on the phone, and my deep disappointment when I realized the only reason for the call was an appeal for funds. Was my worth as a man and church member derived soley from what I could contribute to the institution? Was the glue that had previously held all our relationshps together only the institutions, its goals, and our giving?

Eventually, I realized that after 30 years of adult living and more than 20 years as a church board member at a mainline evangelical church, I ddin't even know what church was, and worse, I didn't even know who I was."

You can order "Identity Theft" at this link:

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