As in real life, I am beginning to look for people online, in the blogosphere, that I can really fit in with. Good luck, right? I think there are lots of people like me who have been going tribal for awhile. Some of us are wandering nomads… keep moving on to find the big picture that holds a place just for us.
I have found myself on the fringes of Christian society for awhile so this isn’t a new experience for me, and having lived there I know that there are many like me. In fact, we keep hooking up, and then get disbursed. I used to be sure what we were looking for, but now I’m not.
So you can see why Whittles ideas on “Tribes” resonated with me. Going tribal happens when the bigger establishments break down for large numbers of people. When the promises are found false and the facade can no longer hold the hopes and the trust of the constituents. Then we break down as a nation and form tribes. We want the cohesive identity of a nation, but there is no longer the glue of mutually held ideals.
So we search for the smaller groups … and band together to build community on the smaller scale.
This is a weaker and less consistent way to work as a group, so the move is always for finding consensus that we can live with, in alliances. That is a tentative and precarious set of outcomes. Enough that it makes you wonder how stable nations even come about. The tribe you know, you have common interests and approach to life. The Civitas is easy to understand, not needing verbalization.
And perhaps that is where the glue of the nation becomes compromised…when something interferes with the verbal reiteration within the group and to the new generations and to the newcomers.
We are afraid to say what our moral ideals are, what our views of good and bad and what constitutes duty. We are easily intimidated by those who wish to take over the forums and dictate the direction. We misunderstand that when we leave a void through accommodation of those dictates, the vacuum gets filled with the more aggressive and often less civilized. Naturally, because that is the constituency of those who do not abide by concern for others, a learned trait. The space must be filled with something. And that is what is being forgotten in the eagerness to appear tolerant and accommodating. There is a loss of real civility when appearances only are what count. The original hypocrisy.
We are a people of hesitancy and fear, of unsure beliefs and vacillating actions… and that is why we break down into tribes… to preserve what little we can from antagonistic forces, and from natural entropy.
And this is the nature of the same culture war which has been going on for quite sometime, under different semantical venues, and widely varying issues.
But catastrophe does not suddenly make us become what we are, or herd us into tribal groups… it only unmasks the veneers of civilized image and exposes the substantial character beneath. Do we value life, of others as well as ourselves? Do we have circumstances in which we sacrifice for the good of the group… or do we only value our own self-interest? Do we act in ways commensurate with the trust given us? Do we have sense of duty? Do we have charity and compassion, or are we only about the kleig lights and the prestige in the pride of place….? What makes our moral consensus and why are large parts of our populace outside the fence? Why are the tribal initiations so hard to accomplish… some on basis that no man can accommodate except by fate of birth?
I find that there is too much subjective rejection. If I find that fellow Christian women are rejecting me … how can I find something larger, when I ought to have a place in that group rather easily? Why are we making acceptance so hard?
Why will someone deny food and water to another on the basis of a car’s bumper sticker? Why will we deny dialog based on political view, escalating the hostilities to ever higher decibels until we drown, literally drown, out those not within our tribe? Or useful to our tribe?
We need to be both harsher and more accepting. We need to be more accepting in the real welcome within the group. We need to be harsher in making the outlines of the group quite clear and the entrance quite well marked and established.
And Christians need to start setting examples of exactly how that looks.