The Church and My Identity
This quote is somewhat related to Ryan's post about community. As humans, we inevitably find our identity - to one degree or another - in some form of community. This is what Ed Welch, in his book Addictions, says about how the church helps to shape our identity. (Remember that he's talking about addictions, so here he's explaining how "Being Part of the Body" is a key to change.)
Why make a big deal out of the primacy of the church? Why not go it alone or be helped by other addicts, whether they are believers or not? As is true with all theology, if we neglect what Scripture says about the church, there will eventually be bad fruit. Your chosen instrument of change, whether it is yourself, a Twelve Step program, or the church, will have a significant impact on how you see yourself and how you understand the process of change.
The church changes our identity. Notice the difference between "I'm Jim. I'm an alcoholic' and 'I'm Jim. I am part of the body of Christ. I am part of 'a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God' (1 Peter 2:9)."
For those who have put their faith in Christ, it is Christ himself who unites us and defines us -- not race, financial status, hobbies, interests, or particular problems. Our family -- those closest to us -- are those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. When our core identity is "alcoholic," "drug addict," or "sex addict," we are saying that our problem defines us, and our church consists of the people who share that particular problem.