Guest speaker Sandra Unger speaks about what it means to be part of the Jesus Tribe. She discusses the reasons people are prone to label people so quickly. She talks about the common place occurrence of tribalism within our culture, and how as Jesus people we can work to overcome such separations today.
As humans we naturally group ourselves into tribes; we do this through skin color, race, or gender. The tendency to categorize people as either ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ our tribe is deeply imbedded in our conscious nature. It often happens without us knowing it is going on. We place people into tribes for all sorts of reasons, from important differences to humorous preferences. There are tribes formed around political parties, sporting teams, and even a person’s choice of computer brands (think Mac or PC). It is this tribalism mentality that causes us to think in ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ categories. Aristotle said this about tribalism, “It involves thinking you know what other people are like without knowing them.” The truth is that we simply cannot know anything about a people group that would apply to everyone in that group.
Science has shown that this mental assessment is the prevalent reaction for humans when engaging with a new person, but science has also proved that humans also have the ability to override this mechanism. To be part of a tribe is not the issue. It is the thought pattern leading to tribalism that can be dangerous. “Isms” are those things that cause us to separate from a group of people who are different from ourselves; racism, sexism, etc. As people of Jesus, however, we must first consider ourselves to be part of the Jesus Tribe.
Jesus came to create a tribe that includes all nations, skin colors, races, classes, and genders. In Rev. 7:9-10, a future vision of this tribe is seen in the perfected heaven all worshipping the Lamb together. In Matt. 6:9-13, Jesus teaches us to pray that this future Kingdom be brought to earth today. As people of the Jesus Tribe we are to be working to bring this reality right now in our lives. The people belonging to the Jesus Tribe are those who can fearlessly go to wherever help is needed. Those in the Jesus Tribe have the ability to see things differently than the rest of the world sees them.
In order to become the Jesus Tribe that can bring about this type of change we must be willing to learn to be game changers in our culture. Meta-cognition is the ability our brains have to know what we are thinking about, while simultaneously being capable to control those thoughts. Although meta-cognition is a fairly newer scientific word, the New Testament discusses this very spiritual discipline. The Apostle Paul tells us in both Romans and Ephesians that we should be working to renew and transform our minds by the working of the Holy Spirit. When we begin to objectively take note of our thoughts, we can then work to reduce stereotypes. In the end, we should seek to find the things that bring us closer to another person when we meet them, rather than immediately defining all the differences that separate us.
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