We’re descendents of cowboys and rough riders – independent
souls that killed those living in tribes.
So it’s no wonder that we struggle so to find our tribe. We don’t understand tribes – their power is
mysterious to us. For example, we are baffled
by the tribal violence in places like Rwanda.
And it’s no wonder that so many people are tribe-less and
profoundly lonely. Even the tribal
lowest common denominator – the extended family – is in such disarray that it
fails to serve as a model of a tribe for most people.
Tribes are groups of people held together by common
interests and values. Students and
retired people tend to be tribal, hanging out on-line or in RV
campgrounds. Myspace.com is a mechanism
for building virtual tribes, but can’t deliver on the real thing.
Real tribes are cross-generational, blending old and young
around a vision for the future that inspires hope and loyalty. The Amish and the Masons were cohesive tribes
that inspired prior generations, but which struggle to say anything relevant to
young people today.
Of course God’s people have always been profoundly
tribal. The Jewish experience has always
had the power of a shared story and religious identity. And wherever people are earnestly seeking and
following Jesus, there is a tribe. We
share a common Lord, a common purpose, a common spirit, and a common vision for
Many Jesus-followers may not live at this level, but a
yearning to find our tribe and to belong to it lives deep within us all.