Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tribal Triumphalism

 We know we belong to some tribe of some category with some name. What do I mean by this. Well, we know we belong to some way of thinking, some school of thought or some form of world view. It will have a label, a name we identify with.

That is the tribe we consider we belong so, the group we gather with.

I mentioned that tribalism has a name. Politically, in the US it can be the GOP or the Dems. Name it in your country, you who are reading this is likely to identify with some grouping of some type.

Here we like to talk about the tribalism applied to religion, particularly in the Christian faith.

It has been said that the denominations where we belong are like tribes in a federation under the Christian banner.

In Lutheranism, it is the synod where one belongs.

Now tack into this the triumphalism. Triumphalism is the idea that you are triumphant above all else, so a supremacist in a sort of way.

Get the two concepts together, you get tribal triumphalism that works this way, your group holds the pure body of truth about faith and practice exclusively and to the exclusion of others.

In other words, your tribe has arrived, you and your group has reached the top, no more need to learn.

This can be observed through pride and often rejects any fair points emanating from groups that don't have the same label as yours. In fact tribal triumphalist ministers reply back with put downs when discussing groups not aligned with their views.

Tribal triumphalists are doomed to disintegrate and to be no more. Christianity will survive but your group you are proud off can disappear.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

Tribal triumphalists are smug and insult St Paul who never claimed such a thing.

Phil 3: 12 Not that I have already attained,[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [d]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus

Tribal triumphalists can see without glasses so they know all and can explain all why they are the singularly kingdom of God.

1 Cor 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Tribal triumphalists by its very nature cannot be catholic (small c, not big C - because big C are tribal triumphalists themselves) Christians no matter how much they claim to be.  

1 John 3:14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

The cure for this disease, is to stop over estimating one's position in comparison to others. We can still learn from people who are mistaken, at least how not to do it their way 

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

A very long time ago, I went to a seminar conducted by a minister who experienced burn out in the ministry. It was Pr Jerry Cook. He was selling his book entitled - A Few Things I Learned Since I Knew it All.

In my journey with my Christian faith I often think about the title of this book, the attitude of knowing it all and arriving always spells, you have to stop and stopping to no longer learning, leads to disaster and disappointment. May God help us not to overrate ourselves.