Cliqueishness and Racism

25 Jul

Our biggest sin as human beings may be desiring to control others and tell them what to do.

That may also be our biggest cover-up and self-deception, because, in doing that, we have to convince ourselves that we are not only okay, but that we are experts whose advice everyone else needs.

Except . . . if we are Christians, our theology declares that we are not okay.  In fact, that is the whole point of why Jesus came . . . to make us alive from the dead.

Anything we have learned from life in Him should make us more humble and teachable, not less so. 

So none of us can claim to be the wise man or woman to whom everyone else in Christianity must look for sage advice on every situation.  

Because we all are going to be in situations sometimes where we not only need others to help us, but where we need to listen to them and learn from them, too.

The above truths underline what is wrong with any groups that practice exclusion.

One such group is an ethnic group, often referred to as a tribe.  If I am in a tribe and am being tribal, I am acting as though my ethnic group is superior to everyone else’s ethnic group.  I am acting as though my group possesses every possible skill that is in existence and has no need for those other tribes at all. 

That is the basis for racism.  Assuming that my tribe (in my case, Caucasians) was created by God to be independent of all other ethnic groups and is perfectly capable of surviving without them.

The Bible shows quite a different picture.  The first century church was clearly made up of many ethnic groups.  Paul even gives names and ethnicities of specific people, which underlines this fact.  And first century teaching clearly pointed out that the church is a body of many parts, all of which have need of one another.

Cliques are a subset within tribes.  A clique is a group that is formed with the express purpose of allowing people to feel special about belonging to that group when others do not.  It is exclusionary by definition.  

There are tons of cliques in middle school but not everyone grows up and leaves them behind.  Every once in a while, there will still be a clique around in adulthood. 

Cliques exercise control by having one or more leaders at the top who more or less dictate to everyone else what they can say or do.  Sometimes the leaders even try to control how their underlings think and feel.  

Remember our greatest sin as humans is desiring to control others and tell them what to do. Clique leaders exemplify this.

Clique members are kept in line by being reminded, explicitly or not, that they are only allowed to belong to the clique and to feel special  if they toe the party line, doing and saying what their leaders want.

Human beings exercising control over each other . . .

Sometimes racism can use the techniques of cliqueishness to control others.  This is subtle when it happens.  

A group, perhaps a political group or even a church, will include members of other races but will put implied conditions on participation.  

“You are only allowed here as long as you toe our party line, including our beliefs on race.  You have to stay in your place and act really grateful that we Caucasians are allowing you a place at the table.”

There is no true Biblical equality there.

The leaders of such a group will, by their actions, show that they still believe that Caucasians are a superior race that really doesn’t need the input of any other ethnic groups.  They will act as though they are merely tolerating the presence of the minority members in their group, instead of embracing them as the unique individuals God has created them to be.

The minority members of that group will seem, from the outside, to be warmly welcomed, yet there will be a strong undercurrent that Caucasians are running the place and anyone opposing the group leaders (almost all Caucasians, no surprise there) will be exiled.

See the difference?  God teaches racial equality in the Bible–that no one race or country has all the cookies and does not need the others.  

Man perverts that doctrine and tries to either teach that Caucasians don’t need the other races at all or that Caucasians are naturally superior to the other races and only need them a little bit.

This racism, and control of people of other races by acting condescending to them as Caucasians, exists in groups on all possible sides of the political spectrum.  

It arises from man’s innate desire to control others and tell them what to do.

And it is sin.

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