If you say something to me that I disagree with, I’ll scrunch up my face and say as sweetly as apple pie, “Wow, you really think that? That’s fascinating!”
But, really what I mean is, “How on earth can you be so wrong! You my friend, are cra-zy.”
I am a fantastic coward!
You’d think being a church planter I’d have a little more guts to lovingly draw-out my friends with different views—after all, I am helping my husband form a new community of believers in one of the most under-church cities in America.
When it comes to drama, and especially girl drama, I nod and sweetly comment, “Fascinating!”
Part of me never feels equipped to handle their indignant confusion when we disagree, but most of me is afraid of letting my pride hang all out.
You see, I love, love, love, my ideas. I value my convictions. I think my passions supersede any other passion-worthy cause in the history of the world—ever!
Sometimes I chuckle when I’m called sweet! I wish I could let my friends get inside my brain for a minute and see that I’m constantly fielding prejudices, snap judgments, and slurs. I consistently struggle to bring those thoughts back to Jesus so that he can renew my thinking.
If men think about sex every day and Carrie Bradshaw thinks about shoes every hour, then I think about my “rightness”, my “better-ness”, my “theological soundness” all the time.
It’s exhausting, really.
So I say, “fascinating” and nod in disagreements.
I try to remind myself:
My way is not always the best way; it’s one of the ways God reveals and breathes of life into His people. The primary goal of being a Kingdom Woman isn’t to clearly identify right and wrong— it’s to live and freely give, grace and peace. Grace for each on our journeys with Jesus and peace on the road as we walk side by side, hand in hand.
But, most of the time the ticker tape of my brain says:
“I’m wrong and your right. I’m biblical and your not. I look like Jesus and you don’t. So…. na-na-na-na na pbbbt!!!!”
This is the why tribe is SUCH a loaded word for me. I’ve got pride and divisive tendencies flowing all through me.
“Tribes” sounds so violent. Like we’re warrior women, forming an orb around our Campfire Calls ready to demolish any opposing tribe’s member.
Yet, there is something incredibly life-giving about tribes! I’m drawn to the possibility of sitting with a group of women who I don’t have to field per-conceived notions, graciously unpack baggage, define terms, or discern which picture of God they hold. I want both— peace in the body but distinct expressions of faith. They seem like drastically different goals, until I observed death and resurrection in the apple orchard.
As I wandered the between the rows of apple trees on Monday, I noticed all the rotting apples. Everywhere were smashed into the ground, left to wither away dying apples.
Observing all this death combined with the goodness and life of the orchard, I was reminded of a principle I learned form Nadia Bolz Weber in “Pastrix”.
In God’s ecology, death must always precede life. The cross always comes before the resurrection.
And I began to wonder: could there be life-giving tribes with distinct views and peaceful, loving unity in the Body?
I think so because love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4).
In order for us to thrive in our diverse tribes, but maintain Kingdom unity, we must embrace a humility that daily destroys the narrative that, “our way is the right, best, only way”. A loving, gracious approach to these distinctions matter.
This approach separates the person from their positions and creates space to engage as friends and not clash as combatants. For us to be a a tribe, and do it well, we must commit to a culture of peace that never confuses the core convictions of our sisters with their core identities as Kingdom Women.
There are good and godly women rallying in tribes all across the world who hold different convictions— yet love our Jesus “something fierce”!
So, let’s fiercely love them by letting our pride fall to the ground, smashing it into the earth and letting it waste away.
I want tribes, but I want peace too.
I want life. So something must die.
I want to be so full of love and grace that when my friend disagrees with me, that I invite the hard conversations and not run from them. I don’t want my pride to prevent me from learning to lovingly engage with “the other”.
In the days to come I’ll be sharing the distinct convictions that set me apart from other tribes…maybe they’ll resonate with you…but if so, remember with me that we’re not better. Just different. We’re simply girls who must avail ourselves to the grace of God. Every. Single. Day.
Tomorrow, I’ll write my weekly FMF and find a way to make the word meaningful to our one of our distinctives. Will it be super well edited? Probably not. Will it be the most theologically astute tome you’ve every read? Sister, please! Will it be from my heart and reveal God’s covenantal love to us? I truly hope so.
This weekend I’ll post unity liturgies to remind us to commit to peace within and without our tribes.
Monday we’re getting into our picture of God and there is nothing he desires more than for us to see him clearly and accurately, as revealed in Jesus Christ on the cross.
Yours Because We’re His,