I was reading this post at iamjoshbrown and it segued with something that has been on my mind lately and resonated so strongly that I thought I should just post my thoughts here instead of in a long rambling comment. Josh's issue was with the word unbeliever and its inability to communicate a truth about a person. My take on this issue is that the body of Christ does this far too often, because we want a quick way to sum another person up.
The church I attended for 10 years functioned for the most part in a far more healthy way that many churches I have observed since. However, we had a man that came to our church, originally to attend his wife's baptism who was admittedly an atheist. He loved the atmosphere of "family" even though he couldn't go with us all the way to the cross. I think he continues to attend, but I honestly don't know how he does it. He wears the "scarlet A" (athiest) and a large majority of the congregation had made it their personal mission to "close the deal". He would ask us to pray when a loved one was in crisis, and while most of the congregation responded respectfully, there were a few that chose this moment to jeer him about the contradiction in what he said he believed and such a request. The point is that the label - whether he wore it or we put it on him didn't ever allow for change, growth, development. The label is static - it is not living, moving and breathing, and can never be a sufficient replacement for a relationship with another human being. Sadly, this is where we have gotten. We've exchanged intimacy in relating to one another for a set of cliffnotes.
Travis and I were talking yesterday about how we are constantly asked about our denomination. Lately I have tended to react to that as if I were being asked my bra size. I don't think "denominations" are bad per se, and would personally have issue with what they have all become, collectively as "the church". What I react to is the superficial attempts at getting to know who I am or what I believe.
There are some labels I wear proudly - but others won't stick. As a wise kindergarten sage once said, I'm rubber and you're glue....