Who is a member of my tribe? This is a question I have been asking myself a great deal lately. I have been asking this question because I have not found a “tribe” to belong too – that will accept me as me and not why they want me to be. That is not to say I do not have friends, I have many good friends and people I value a great deal – but the question still keeps popping into my head – “WHO IS MY TRIBE?”
Over my walk I have heard a great many churches say to me, ‘We welcome all people in our church’ only to find out they really don’t. I would visit one church and find that if you are not conservative, well the door is not really open. I would go to another church and find that you are not liberal, the door is not open. Each of those kinds of churches claims to have all the answers. They know exactly what Jesus would do in any given situation. They seem to be saying, “We know Jesus better than those other churches and we can tell you exactly what Jesus would say and do.” It matters little what the issue is, they know the answer; Gay? We know what Jesus would say. Sex? We have that one down also. War? Not a problem, here is the answer. Loving your enemies? Here is what that means. What does it mean to be poor? This is what that means. No matter what the issue, they claim to know exactly what others should believe and they each can “prove” their point. But I am not sure I am comfortable with a church that claims all the answers.
You see, in the tribe I know I would be comfortable in, I need people who wrestle with those issues and allow others to have different points of view. For me, my tribe needs to be a place where people love each other, support each other, speak kindly of each other and in all that they can have different points of view and sometimes radically different points of view. There are no lines drawn where one side claims to be right and the other claims to be wrong. But in that, they can come together in the love of the resurrected Christ, God’s gift to us all for salvation.
I have not met that tribe, but I have met some that are very close and that is exciting. As I pray over the issue of planting a community of faith in my area of the world I am driven to this reality. I am driven by the desire to see that tribe form and grow based on people with different points of view. Now, I will admit that for those who desire a tribe that “has all the answers” this kind of tribe would never be a place where they would find comfort. You see, many in the church desire to have a tribe where all people think like they do, and there is no perceived tension. For some reason, they believe that if everyone thinks alike tension does not exist. But it does, and in such was that are destructive to the live of the tribe. You see, when there is tension between like minded people that tension is usually based on personalities and not ideas. When tension is formed between people based on personalities that tension is very destructive at its core. Tensions based on the difference of ideas can be creative and allow for discussions based on what we think and how we are seeing the world.
How do we deal with the issue or war, we have an answer for that. This reality got me thinking, how many others are asking, “Who is my tribe?” Think about that for a few – if every church that claimed they welcomed everyone truly did, why is the church losing people each and every Sunday.