New Article: Cooperation, Tribalism, and the Promise in Resurrection

Progress for progress’ sake has led humanity down some avenues that have produced less-than-desirable outcomes. Looking toward Jesus, we can have hope that we are more than just our instincts.

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Good thoughts.

I have found myself feeling pretty dark about the direction of the world this past year. It’s good to reorient on the kind of human life we need to choose in order to flourish and how Christ models that for us.

And I did not know dying trees cooperatively sacrifice their carbon to help the living. That is why I keep reading here. I learn something fascinating every day.

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From the article:

The human species, at times, seems hell bent on outcompeting all other life on earth, until there is no life underneath us on the food chain to sustain our own.

This is an embarrassing indictment to the extent that it is accurate. It would be like your heart and your lungs deciding they are in competition with each other for resources.

Another thought provoked for me is to wonder about healthy manifestations of tribalism (if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron these days) wherein “a tribe” might be a healthy functioning part of a larger community … say … a nation even. But what would that look like? I guess if we try to imagine political parties back when they seemed to keep a national outlook for their larger context of importance rather than elevating their own survival (or even just the maintenance of …just hypothetically speaking … some cult-leader who has hijacked and subverted that tribe’s ideals). But back to healthier times! What does a well-functioning tribal unit look like? Does anybody remember?

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Just finished Haidt’s The Righteous Mind, and he had quite a bit to say about that. It seems with agriculture and urban life, calling on our inner tribalism (or as he put it our bee hive mentality) made for groups that succeeded vs. those that failed. A healthy tribal identity helps a group reach goals unattainable by individuals. Hopefully, we can regain that health by focusing on our common goals and common principles, both in politics and in the church.

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The pandemic is such small bump on the road compared to so many difficulties in both the past and looming in the future that I see more hope in it than gloom. It is a needed challenge to wake us up and face the challenge of picking our priorities. We have indeed had it too easy recently and the insane behavior we have seen only demonstrates that people have forgotten the dangers shown in the past. Another reason for hope is the fact that more and more we are responding to crises as a whole world and species rather than just as tribes and nations. The challenges to this only provide greater proof of the need to work together.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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