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Evangelical Tribalism

August 3, 2010

Did anyone catch this article by Al Hsu regarding Evangelical tribalism? Thanks to Thom Turner (Everyday Liturgy) for this. Here’s a quote from the article, but check out the whole thing at Patheos:

Like-minded people and structures reinforce our subcultural identity. The more we read certain blogs or books by certain authors in a certain community, the more radically invested we become in that tribal identity. Attending conferences with like-minded individuals is a powerful reinforcer of tribal commitments … While conferences are helpful for defining each tribe’s subcultural identity, they may also have the unintended consequence of fragmenting evangelicalism into competing communities that no longer recognize one another as full brothers and sisters in Christ. If conference attendees self-segregate and develop relationships only within their particular tribe, then people find themselves in largely homogeneous communities where their vision is limited to their tribal emphases. We might find others who are like-minded, but we may not hear countervailing perspectives or alternate voices that could serve to correct imbalances.

Do you see this happening? Elements of tribalism aren’t all bad, of course. But how might we guard against becoming too “tribal”?

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