It happens to all of us: we find ourselves part of a group, and we start to look and sound a lot like the others in the group.
If you are not part of these two groups, you may belong to a third. Except it’s not a group or a movement. But love Newbigin. You read Scot McKnight. You enjoy when Tony Jones bugs the first group and confuses the second. You’d pick Wright over Piper any day. You still can’t believe George W. Bush was president. You’d rather take pay cut than attend Willow’s Leadership Summit. You buy fair trade coffee when you have the choice and you’re a pacifist, except around really annoying fundamentalists.
I’ve come to realize that it’s really hard not to become part of some kind of subculture. The problem is that many of the clichés become accurate. I’ve noticed lately that it takes someone else to point out my own tribe, because I sometimes don’t even recognize the quirks of my particular group. I don’t mind being idiosyncratic as much as I mind being oblivious.
It’s why I am appreciating my friends who are not part of my subculture. I need to make a point of having lunch with them and enduring their gentle mocking when they see the quirks of my tribe, just as I’ll gently mock them right back.
To my friends from other tribes – you know who you are – thank you.
It’s also why I need to read widely so I don’t get trapped in just one way of thinking. And it’s why I continue to enjoy being part of a denomination that isn’t comprised of people just like me.
I don’t have to like everything about the other subcultures, but I sure need them to save me from my own.