GONE TRIBAL Pastor Steve Lummer
“It is not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:26,27 (NIV)
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9,10
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:26-29
Our Tribal Origins –
Matthew 3:13 – Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?
Not sanitized by religion People who step out of bound
Color outside the lines
Ones who continue what John the Baptist started.
Our Tribal Instinct-
John 13:35 – By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“I know how you feel “
“How many of you have been directly effected by cancer” – “how many of you have been betrayed?” – “How many of you have had a stack of bills and you did not how you were going to pay them?” – with each question he had us make eye contact with someone who had the same type of experience we had and trade cards with them. (Illustration credit – Rob Bell in Drops Like Stars)
Our Tribal Dialect –
1 Corinthians 1:10 – speak the same thing
Crash the future
A few years ago I took my kids to a wildlife animal park near Disney Land. As we rode on a tram through the open terrain, a guide pointed out the unique features of the different species that we encountered. I suppose I always knew it in part, but I had not come to realize how most groups of animals have unique names or designations when they dwell together.
With insects most of us know that bees are called swarms, and ants are called colonies. Among ocean life, I was aware that whales are pods, and fish are schools. Cattle are herds, birds are flocks, and if you watch Lion King, you know a tribe of lions is a pride. If you grew up in the country, you might know that crows are murders. Maybe the most unnerving one is an ambush of tigers.
I was surprised to learn that a group of buzzards waiting around together to feast on leftover carnage is called a committee. Just this one insight is worth the price of the whole book. This explains so much of what’s going on in churches—a lot of committees waiting around to live off human carnage.
Flamingos are called flamboyants, which for some reason reminds me of TV evangelists. And the less glamorous owls are known as parliaments. They do seem sort of British.
But my favorite of all is the group designation for rhinos. You see, rhinos can run thirty miles an hour, which is pretty fast when you consider how much weight they’re pulling. They’re actually faster than squirrels, which can run up to twenty-six miles an hour. And even then who’s going to live in dread of a charging squirrel! (Sorry—that was a bit off the point.) Running at thirty miles an hour is faster than a used Pinto will go. Just one problem with this phenomenon. Rhinos can see only thirty feet in front of them. Can you imagine something that large moving in concert as a group, plowing ahead at thirty miles an hour with no idea what’s at thirty-one feet? You would think that they would be far too timid to pick up full steam, that their inability to see far enough ahead would paralyze them to immobility. But with that horn pointing the way, rhinos run forward full steam ahead without apprehension, which leads us to their name.
Rhinos moving together at full speed are known as a crash. Even when they’re just hanging around enjoying the watershed, they’re called a crash because of their potential. You’ve got to love that. I think that’s what we’re supposed to be. That’s what happens when we become barbarians and shake free of domestication and civility. The church becomes a crash. We become an unstoppable force. We don’t have to pretend we know the future. Who cares that we can see only thirty feet ahead? Whatever’s at thirty-one feet needs to care that we’re coming and better get out of the way.
We need to move together as God’s people, a barbarian tribe, and become the human version of the rhino crash. The future is uncertain, but we need to move toward it with confidence. There’s a future to be created, a humanity to be liberated. We need to stop wasting our time and stop being afraid of what we cannot see and do not know. We need to move forward full force because of what we do know.
We may not be able to see what’s at thirty-one feet, but we don’t have to be blind to what’s right in front of us. There’s a world that desperately needs God, a world filled with loneliness, hopelessness, and fear. We have somehow become deaf to a cry that reaches heaven coming from the souls of men. But God hears. (story credit goes to Erwin McManus in The Barbarian way)
Our Tribal Song –
Colossians 3:16 – Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
There is a tribe in Africa called the Himba tribe, where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little “OFF” at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.