Be true to your identity, baccalaureate speaker urges

Be true to your identity, baccalaureate speaker urges

web-baccalurate-speakerWhat do the pop singer Pink and David, who fought Goliath, have in common?

Dr. Paul Timothy Roberts, the President-Dean of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, explained the connection in this year’s baccalaureate address in Belk Auditorium on Friday night in Belk Auditorium.

Everyone knows the story of David slaying Goliath, Roberts said, but he urged students to look closer at the passage in the context of David’s self-awareness of his own identity. David steps up to the challenge of fighting Goliath and is even offered to wear the King’s armor, according to Roberts.

Roberts contended that David declines the armory and weapons because of his strong understanding of who he was. With sling shot in hand, he steps to the front of the line and defeats Goliath.

“Some of you may be surprised to learn that I’m a fan of Pink, but it wasn’t always like that,” Robert said.

Roberts went on to say that her earliest music was thin and without substance.  Pink has gone through several transformations but none of them fit, until recently, according to Roberts.

“I listen to her music now, and I hear her singing about identity,” he said.  “If we are honest, at some point we will all face an identity crisis – this is the turning point in our lives.”

Roberts suggested that in these times, we should not be asking, “Lord what am I going to do?  Instead, we should say, Lord, how shall I be?”

Roberts went on to tell the graduates that it’s important to determine first who you are going to be.

“When you embrace your identity, the world opens up,” Roberts said.  “You need to be true to you.”

Because David understood his identity as a child of God, he protected his people as he knew he should, Roberts said.

“You mean the most to the people around you when your identity is strong,” he added.

In closing, Roberts urged the graduates to claim bold new horizons and embark on new adventures.

“Do so with a vision of yourself as a child of God and with courage,” he said.