In Ireland, there was once an invasion problem from the Norse Vikings. These men (my ancient kin) traveled over seas to overtake a fragile and broken Ireland and began to find great success in defeating this nation of infighters. Then, a man from the North began to take prominence as a mighty King. Soon, he found that his clan was being taken over by the Vikings, not because the Vikings were so strong, but because the clans were more than willing to watch his clan go down in flames. There was no Irish loyalty, only scandal and bigotry; clan on clan hatred. He decided he was going to unite the Northern clans, so he set out to do so and showed them that being united was better than fighting each other. They began to thwart the Norse invaders by the power of their unification. Soon, the Southern clans began to take notice because their borders became more strained as the Vikings decided to head south and no longer try to go after the north, they were simply losing too many men.
Not too long into this, the the Aird Ri (which means High King) decided to enlist this King from the North in helping him gain more momentum. Although this king was the “High King” he only ruled over the Southern Kingdoms and with a shaky fist at that. It soon became apparent that if the entire island of Ireland was to be united, this Northern King would need to step in and rule. The rock “cried out” which was the ancient Druids way of determining a king, and so this king from the South became King over all of Ireland, and they called him the “Lion of Ireland” because he was fierce and ferocious. His name was Brian Boru and for about 9 whole years there was peace and tranquility in Ireland. His plan of uniting the clans for the common good of the Kingdom proved to be needed. He did war against other clans to gain his prominence, but this was to ensure loyalty and unification. Brian was the first and only King to rule over the entire nation of Ireland.
Hopefully you’re thinking: “why the history lesson?”
The answer is because I think we, the Church can learn a deep, true and rich lesson from our Irish friend.
Many people would call different segments of Christianity tribes, I like that word, but it loses it’s “family-feel”. A tribe can be any differing group of people, without a similar origin, while a clan tends to sound more like a grouping of people separated out, but still having the same origin…that is why I use clan here in this blog.
We’ve seen many a Christian clan combat another and the enemy to the Gospel has been loving every minute of it. The clan wars, just as in Ireland’s case, have been taking the eyes of the people off of the main thing. In our case that is proclaiming the Gospel with love and perseverance. Rather than focusing on this, the clans have been attacking one another to show how wrong the other is, while arrogantly touting their clan’s ideas are perfect. Which they are not.
This isn’t something to be taken lightly either. We see it all the time…at least I know I do. Just the other day there was a spat in twitter between to differing groups- it could have been cordial but it quickly descended into stupidity…from both sides. Here is the conversation that transpired- TWITTER SPAT. As you can see, Rachel was simply trying to point out something that was true- women were not represented in this “Nines” leadership conference and that was not a good representation of the church. I would contend also, there was very little Black influence. Yet that statement seemed to uncover a wounding maybe? I’m not sure but it definitely degraded.
I agree that some interface (public or not) needs to happen between differing clans, but we as believers need to be more sensitive and loving when we discuss heated topics, and decide ahead of time not to be arrogant and rude. Our interpretation about the grey areas of Scripture are not perfect, so we must stop pretending that they are.
I just today interacted with a brother in the Reformed Clan. He’s a Bible believing lover of Jesus who was slamming my college students with “Repent and Believe” rhetoric. He was not getting to know them, he was not sounding loving at all (in fact it sounded the opposite) and so I stepped in to talk with him. He challenged my faith, said I was ashamed of the Gospel, called me a cultural Christian and when he saw my earring stated loudly that he doubted my salvation at all because I was a “conformist”. It went places it need not have gone because of these rash, unloving, uncaring statements. I later went by to speak with him again and his team of evangelists were being asked to leave by Pittsburgh Police…needless to say he was more open to talking with me and saw I do love these students and I do love Jesus…he just arrogantly believed his ways were the only ways.
Listen friends. If we are going to be serious about the Gospel and serious about people coming to know Jesus, we’ve got to be on the same team. Jesus is Lord, he died on the Cross for our sins and rose again from the grave. He then sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us to be His messengers with our lives and with our mouths. If we are trinitarian believers in all the core doctrines of the faith…we are ONE team. The Clan vs. Clan wars need to cease and we need to be a people who reaches this diverse world for Him and His Kingdom, not for us and our kingdoms. Let us unite as Brian united Ireland and not just keep our borders “safe” but make headway on the enemies territory!