Monday, March 21, 2011

Ink and Islands. . . Tribes (pt1)

We are Tribe.
A tribal people, sects and offshoots from an original kingdom. Unlike states who rely on order, status, and direct oversight, many of us from the faith have chosen a tribal right. It is a curious thing that often leads to tension and misunderstanding but the payoff is infinite freedom in this tribal community. I, myself, am part of a Pentecostal tribe, we tried charismatic for awhile but it lacked a clear enough definition, so we’ve reverted to the old name. I love my tribe, for all it’s faults and admitted problems it is the place I feel the most “at home”. Something a lot of people don’t get about tribalism is the structure, so my intent is to open up some of the picture I see when looking at this from the inside. I’m sure from the outside there is a completely different view (you’ll have to find one of them for that).
First of all let me go into what forms a tribe then we’ll look at some parabolic shared history. First off you’ll have to revert to an eastern mindset (some would say Hebraic) and think Kingdom. This is a hard concept for westerners to grasp, it actually has a lot to do with why the mainstream Christian church is so susceptible to corruption and division based on corruption, lack of biblical perspective of Authority. You often get asked dumb questions not based on reality, people like to say things like, “It’s not okay to break the law, right, but what about when the law contradicts God? “ that’s an interesting philosophical point but a straw man none-the-less. The solution comes in understanding where authority originates and where it filters through. It’s pretty simple at its basis, but becomes more and more complex when you attempt to pick it apart. Tribes come from people who are unwilling to bend to the “exact doctrine” of the state. There are a lot of intricate details in that sentence that should be delved into, but not now so on to the quick:
We have a King, who established a Kingdom, and then invited refugees, brigands, turn-coats, and simple people into its fertile borders. In this Newfound Kingdom one edict was sent down, “You will swear allegiance to the King before and above all else, His word is Law, He is the Lord of life, and you are subject to His Will.” Based on this edict we established homes, built communities, and began to flourish. Someone decided along the way (due mainly to the size of our estates) that some general rules should be set out (you know for order and good conduct). [Now this is the sleight of hand that established the Christian brand of tribalism; notice here how thin the line that is drawn becomes a chasm.] Most agreed to these rules and those who did not simply left these lands. The Kingdom was huge in those days, there was plenty of room and more than enough space to allow everyone to live and grow in the direction they saw fit.
I’ll get back to that story some day but you can sorta see where it’s all going I think.  So now you have today. We are many tribes in the same Kingdom, most tribes are pretty close and intermix pretty well, (some notsomuch) but we advance, we grow and shrink, we change and revert. I love this, love the whole thing, there is great freedom here. I’ll be honest there have been wars, people lost and hurt but most transitions are safe, I have learned to respect my fellow citizens even when their systems seem contrary to common sense. We make the difference in this world as we embrace the purpose of the King. We are a tribal people.


  1. Thanks Thomas,

    That's an interesting perspective. I get the sense that you are saying that its better to have denominations, or tribes, rather than one cohesive unit under a particular authority. Can you explain this further? Thanks bro.

    Matty B

  2. Sure Matt, It's not the central unity i disagree with (actually the case is inferred that unity is the goal) it's the central authority that seems somewhat unbiblical, as authority proceeds from Christ, whereas unity [and all that it implies] is a work within the believer that is cultivated by (1) choice/practice and (2) the Holy Spirit.

    Phil. Chapter 2 relies heavily on this balance, first stating what is for the sake of fellowship, then establishing the ultimate supremacy of Christ and ending with the implications of authority on individual freedom of faith. It may seem somewhat backwards (and in my estimation there is much to be said for the holy mother church and it's adherence to a centralized doctrine), however i believe that the majority of personal growth, after a foundation central to the scriptures, is in direct proportion to the individuals ability to connect with God in reliance on the guiding of the Holy Spirit and little else.


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