Tribalism and Racism

Tribalism, Nepotism, Racism, oooops, Holdemanism

Tribalism  The organization, culture, or beliefs of a tribe.  A strong feeling of identity with and loyalty to one’s tribe or group.

Racism and racial discrimination are often used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of whether these differences are described as racial.

Xenophobia intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries, unreasonable fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign, “a fear of strangers.”

Nepotism favoritism shown to relatives or close friends by those with power or influence.

Bigotry stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief,or opinion that differs from one’s own.

The words listed above all have a very unfavorable connotation.  They remind us of people who are not very highly advanced spiritually and intellectually. To hold oneself apart, to enumerate the ways in which one is better than others, and to enforce rules that keep a group separate is to create strife and conflict.  As Christians we are to remove walls of separation and come together as friends.  This does not mean that we are tolerant of sinful practices, but it should mean that, rather than holding ourselves apart and above, we should reach out and find ways in which we can fellowship and draw together.

In Africa there are many different tribes and they have gone to war with one another for as long as history is recorded.  Even today, in the present time, tribalism, racism and nepotism are threatening to completely destroy the beautiful and magnificent continent of Africa.

In Kenya the Maasai are a very distinct tribe.  They are very conscious of their origins and can trace their journey from past to present with a fair degree of accuracy, although as is so often the case, there are gaps in the lineage.  They are a pastoral people and cattle are their source of wealth.  Because of drought and disease they  have been forced to relocate often.  Today they exist largely in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania.  They have a very distinctly evolved family life and cultural traditions and are known for a number of very distinct traits.

Tourists will recognize the Maasai instantly, as well as people from all over the world, who see pictures of them in photographs of Africa.   They are recognizable by the red cloth that they wear draped over one shoulder, the way they stand on one leg with one foot pressed to the inside of the other knee.  They are known for drinking blood, sometimes mixed with milk.  They are able to jump high into the air as part of a trance-like ritual, and they wear distinctive jewelry.  They are proud, content and the most conservative (resistant to change) of the indigenous people of east Africa.  Use of charcoal, gas and electricity is unknown in the deep reserves and many Maasai have yet to comprehend what it means to “develop” in terms of new technology and keeping pace with national and international development.  They are required to marry within the tribe, and breaking tribal traditions results in a loss of standing.  The culture is extremely strong,  very pleasant to those who are a part of it and there is a great deal of arrogance involved.  In general they do not wish to change or leave.  They love their tribal ways.

The desire to be part of something that is better than all others is very primitive.  No doubt it is innate within  man, but that does not make it right or good.  The traditions and practices that keep the Maasai distinct are very important to them.  They guard their culture with a great deal of zeal.  For the founder of a Christian sect (John Holdeman) to declare that all other churches have been formed to the displeasure of God is even more arrogant and proud. When we behave in this manner we are no different from primitive tribes, we are no better than the racist or the bigot.

Cultural practices are just that, cultural practices.  They keep a group culturally intact, they are extremely satisfying to the members of the group and they seem far more important than they really are.  Jesus came to break down walls. It’s true that he said that he came to bring not peace, but a sword, but he is speaking of setting the unrighteous and the righteous apart.  When differences have nothing to do with sin or unscriptural practices, they are wrong.  Down with  tribalism! Down with bigotry!  Down with exclusivity!  We are calling for truth, justice, mercy and love!  Down with the walls!

Discrimination treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs, rather than on individual merit.

Sectarian of, belonging or relating to, or characteristic of sects or sectaries.  Adhering to a particular sect, faction, or doctrine.  A member of a sect or faction, especially one who is bigoted in his adherence to its doctrines or in his intolerance towards other sects, etc.

May God bless all of you!

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