The following articles contain the opinions and perspectives of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of St Francis Church itself.
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There’s so much more to be said about tribalism. (For Part 1, refer to previous Blog on Tribalism.) Superficially, it seems a good thing to be proud of one’s tribe, to own it as choice. But there is hidden a cancer. The pride that arises is at the expense of the mana of other tribes. The greater the pride in one’s own, the more diminished the ‘other’. Leading subconsciously and often overtly to excess. The lionising of one’s own has the (sometimes unintended) effect of demonising the Other.
Tribalism is rarely quoted as a root cause of anything, war least of all. It should be. Because a crucial part of pre-war posturing and propaganda (and, indeed, of justifying aggression or provocation) is to demonise the other guys. For they have said this, done this, they’re responsible for this … and therefore our tribe is going to … or, was justified in doing … These are the usually identified causes of conflict, but they’re consequences. Tribalism is at the root of them all.
Read a moving example of reconciliation and unity during the week past. Stuff (the news outlet) has been telling stories from the Christchurch earthquake, ten years ago. On that day, two men were rebuilding St Paul’s church, which had collapsed in the earthquake of some months before. As soon as this second one was over they came out to view the devastation, and immediately ran across the road to the CTV building, which had pancaked, to see how they could help.
…. the ubiquity of tribalism. My tribe is better than yours!
Hope lifts one’s view from hints of despair. Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl wrote that Jewish inmates of concentration camps who retained hope stood a far better chance of survival than those who didn’t. Hope drives the student in an important exam; Hope sustains the frail patient going into a risky operation, and the woman undergoing yet another in vitro treatment; Hope attends the sailor making her way in fog; forlorn Hope drove the rebels in Les Miserables, and Hope hoists all other uprisings; Hope makes a man stand up again, who has fallen down many times.
Hope is the subject of a well known painting ….
We’re all keen to have friends, but what if there are no friends to be had? And there are many reasons why we might be friendless, alone.
Google has plenty to say about this. As did our friend, Jean Brown.
Jean Brown, now deceased, was a spinster from a small Scottish town, who, we learnt as time went on, had no one she could call a friend. But she proved to be inspirational as an irrepressible loner.
I pulled into the carpark of a country café and, getting out, noticed a man who looked like an old friend. I hadn’t seen him for ages, but features, mannerisms – they were all there. Approaching him cautiously, I said, “Excuse me, are you … [Jim]?” No, was his reply. I apologised, explaining that he looked just like an old friend. To my surprise, the guy threw his arms around me and said, “No, but you look like a pretty good friend to have!” We laughed, and that was it, but I came away thinking, what a neat experience. IContinue reading “How many ‘friends’ have you got?”
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