Received 31 March 2009 following a presentation to a group of leaders…
I’ve changed a few grammatical things and removed some identifying references, but otherwise this is how it came…
Good morning Glenn,
On my way home I was giving thought to the “tribe idea” that you talked about at the conference. I have been calling this “brotherhood,” but it is in essence the same thing.
With this in mind, I began to think of my tribe: “Cage Fighters.” Why do we get together and why do we train so hard and what event are we looking to have happen to fulfill us? And why is it important? The answers I found perplex me and I thought that I would share them.
One: Why do we get together? I told my friend on the way home that I would trust my life and the life of my family to my tribe before I let the church anywhere near them! Why? The tribe holds loyalty as a virtue above all else. And I know that if I was gone and something happened on my farm, it would be the fighters not the church that would come to help my wife and kids. (Note: only one of about 20 of us are saved besides myself.)
Two: What are we looking to have happen? I asked the tribe this when I got home this last week and I was surprised and thrilled at the answer. We all want to be in an epic fight – one that leaves us spent, beaten, battered and broken but yet we win against overwhelming odds. That is why it is no real loss to lose to someone that is better then you as we are always trying to fight someone more skilled then ourselves. It is also why many fighters won’t even count a victory over an underling in the craft. Odd, I know, but it is my tribe! Why is this important? It allowed me to share Jesus with them based on their ideas of virtues. I understand that we should learn mercy, love, kindness but we must first come to Christ before we can be made in His image.
In my tribe, these are the most important things: courage, loyalty, strength, HONOR, and respect. I have been wrestling with conforming to the image of the acceptable church and holding these values. (Someday if we have lots of time we can talk about that!) Holding these values, seems to be in conflict with the church of today for us fighters, so we just push Jesus aside with the church as weak, cowardly, un-loyal, without honor and un-respectful. I – and you – know that this is not the whole picture; I’m just telling you how we view things. Why is this important? Well I got a revelation on the way home. (I guess this is my “one for the year…”)
This tribe is my mission field. I love these guys and understand them. Last Monday one of them told me that I break all the stereotypes of Christians. I took it as a compliment. Understanding my tribe and why and what brings us together gives me the road to reach them. So after two days of practice with them I have made sure to talk about the (for lack of a better word) “warrior aspect” of Jesus: how He fought, how He struggled and how He overcame in the battle. In just two practices we have made great moves in their lives. Travis talked to me after class and said, “I have hope now I did not have because there is a fight worth fighting.” I was amazed all he needed to hear was that Jesus was like him and he was willing to listen. I’m amazed…..
I get a lot of flack for cage fighting and the craziest questions like, “Would Jesus punch someone in the face?” I’ve always wanted to answer, “If it was a deacon… Yes.” But haven’t yet.
But my tribe is slowly coming to Jesus because I live were they do, speak the way they do and love them the way Jesus does.
I just wanted you to see that your “tribe talk” at conference encouraged me to stay with the tribe. Sometimes we get a lot of flack for looking at things differently but you are a blessing to me. Any thoughts would be great…
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