It’s time to let go of the tribe analogy when referring to faith communities. I get it. We all want to find a place we fit, where people like us share common goals, values and beliefs. The problem is when we start identifying as a tribe we set ourselves apart form others. We build an us versus them mentality that does way more harm than good.
I admit, I’ve used the “t” word myself. Everyone wants to belong to something bigger than ourselves. But, if we’re always looking for a tribe we miss the fact we already belong to bigger things—the human race, those that share a common language or people who live in a specific geographical area. Why must we break it down to smaller and smaller groups to draw our identity from?
Think about it. If we focus on the “tribe” we lose site of the value of those who don’t act like, dress like, think like we do. They become those who don’t belong. We become suspicious and even fearful—especially when we are told we are the only ones who have it all figured out and anything on the outside is dangerous. Tribes naturally exclude people.
A quote I saw on Twitter recently inspired my thoughts and still haunts me.
“As soon as you draw a line to exclude people, Jesus goes to the other side of that line with them and invites you to join him there. Every time.” — Carlos A. Rodriguez
Are we on the wrong side of the line? If we’re excluding people we are. Let’s do better.