On Tribes and Community



IMHO an individual’s potential to spend one’s existence negotiating, adapting and expressing //”ingroup loyalty, sacredness, and respect for authority”// is kind of bred in the bone so to speak.

I think one may willingly submitting oneself to be conformed and spend one’s time and resources creatively deploying such as one grows to maturity and becomes a contributing member of a culture or tribe. One’s tribe has a trajectory and if one’s identity and self-esteem is dependent on one’s tribal status one’s life has the same trajectory as one’s tribe.

Quaker query:

  • How do I come to sense where the trajectory will take the particular culture or tribe in which I’m embedded?
  • What steps do I need to take if the culture I’m in embedded in is engaged in a sterile choice for its members?
  • What are the //”the questions that I needed to ask”// with regard to where I may spend what is innate in me so that I may function in a way that is appropriate for the context I  have been dropped into at Birth?


In anthropologyliminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rites, when participants no longer hold their preritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold”[2] between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the rite establishes.

– Wikipedia

Tracy Witham

Tillich, as many readers will know, described the state of conservative Christianity as “inauthentic” precisely because self-alienation results when important questions get “stuffed.”

I guess my underlying point is that while a small minority of “us” are comfortable with questions because we see constructive, hopeful, helpful directions emerging for the Church, “we” are still by and large seen as threats to the local churches where we might attend. And we are, if clinging to the past is one and the same as clinging to faith.







Author: charlesburchfield

I am an artist working primarily with collage.

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