LIVING AS APPRENTICES
What tribe do you belong to? If you live where I do, your original tribe was probably Dutch or English. Now our area is made up of many tribes attempting to share the same space. In an interview with Krista Tippett on On Being, Seth Godin, internet entrepreneur, innovator, author, and thoughtful observer of our times, reminds us that tribes and relationships are changing.
In the desert or the jungle, the tribe was defined by geography alone. You were in the tribe based on where you were born. And then we fast-forward to [say], Mark Twain. Mark Twain would show up in a city and a thousand people would come to hear him speak. And everyone who came was in his tribe. They were in the tribe of, you know, slightly satirical, slightly jaundiced people who were also intellectuals who could engage with him. And he had never met them before, but within minutes, they were part of a congruent group who understood each other.
And so if we fast-forward to today — you can take someone who hangs out in the East Village or Manhattan who has 27 tattoos — they go to Amsterdam, they can find someone in Amsterdam who talks their language and acts like them, because they’ve chosen the same set of things that excite them, and that they believe in. And we divide tribes as small a group as we want. But what the Internet has done is meant that we don’t have to get on a plane anymore to meet strangers who like us. . . .
What does this sociological discussion have to do with living as apprentices? Tribes are changing. Social structures are changing. Our mindset must change along with the changes in society. The answer to “Who is my tribe?” involves more than what language we speak or what section of the world we live in or what our “tribal history” may be. Apprentices can and should find connections with people who are very different from we are because we are a “tribe” come together around Jesus. Jesus taught that everyone can be included in his tribe, but we would often much rather stay within the boundaries of the tribe we were born into.
This is why, I believe, the Apprentice program is so successful. Local “tribes” are created who can easily connect with Apprentices from other cities, other regions and even other countries. These tribes are not bound by the parameters of their church walls. They gather together physically when possible and anytime through the internet (such as this blog) and immediately are at home. In fact one goal of the Apprentice program is to help Christ-followers find their way outside of their life-long reference points to share experiences with anyone along the road. Once that is done, a new member is added to the tribe!