Interesting, Very Interesting

rwandaI heard an interesting question asked today that any sincere follower of Christ needs to consider. It went something like this. “Is the blood of tribalism thicker than water of baptism in your life?” The question came from someone who is intimate with the genocide in Rwanda in which Christians, who were part of one tribe, have killed people who were members of another tribe simply because of their tribal affiliation.

Let me begin my thoughts by explaining what I think tribalism is. Simply stated, tribalism is the culture that defines us. To some of us it might literally be our tribe, or as we call it, our family. Others find their tribal identity in a brand of theology, or church affiliation. For others our tribe might be our political affiliation. Then there are those whose tribe is their union. Still others define themselves by their ethnicity. Some would define their tribe as one form or another of modern culture. And others by geographical considerations. (How long do I have to live in Michigan to actually be a yankee?)

All of us can find parts of our identity in all of the examples above, but the question posed has to do with whether or not we allow our other affiliations to take precedent over our identity as Christ followers. I’m sure that the majority of those reading this blog are not guilty of genocide, but have there been times when the opinions of our “tribal influences” have differed from godly precepts? Which did you choose?

In other words, who has the final say in the decisions that we make? Is it the community of Christ, represented by; the Scripture, mature believers, and godly leadership, or is it one of our other tribal affiliations? Jesus said “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 The Message)

So what is it ultimately that defines you? Is it one of the tribes above or is it your identity as a wholly devoted follower of Jesus Christ?

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