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“Tribalism is found throughout human society. Humans favor their own group however they define it. And they distinguish themselves from other such groupings. Thus, it seems natural to believe that the scope of God’s concern is concentrated on one’s own associations…St. John Chrysostom says that to think that God is partial to one group or another is an insult to God’s glory.” (Fr. Basil)

“Despite all the contrary rhetoric, contemporary Americans are not highly individualized: we are tribal, in the extreme. It is the group, however constructed, that gives identity, for the identity that is sought is one that covers us, that hides our vulnerability and gives us the safety of those who agree. A tell-tale sign of this dynamic is found in our culture’s anger. Anger is largely driven by shame and we can affirm our tribal protection only by shouting at the outsider. Everything outside the group threatens to unmask us. To an increasing extent, the group to which we belong is that set of people who share our anger.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The disruptions of what we think of as normal life in our society in the last year should open our eyes to the reality of what it means to be human persons in the world as we know it. Despite the scientific and medical advances that we take for granted, a virus can still easily bring death, disease, and disruption in ways that no one can fully control. As usual, the crisis impacts the weakest members of society the most. Violence, hatred, and tribalism fueled by inflamed passions call into question the integrity of our nation’s form of government and political culture. A blast of extraordinarily cold weather reminds us how vulnerable we are before the elements and how dependent we are upon systems that provide energy, clean water, and food.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“Tribalism gives us the fragmented and hostile world we accept as normal. But that’s a fallen normal that goes back to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). Every human being is a chosen child of God, and Pentecost calls us to restore that brotherhood: “When the Most High came down and confused the tongues He divided the nations, but when He distributed the tongues of fire he called all to unity.” (Fr. John Jillions)

““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ (Lev. 19:18, Deut. 21:3-6) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43) Our Lord Jesus is quoting from memory what all good Jews knew—neighbors were basically other Jews; all others were in the category of gentiles. He had the courage to advance His native religion from tribalism to a universal attitude to all humankind. And He paid the ultimate price for His bold insight regarding the Father’s love for all.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


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