• Leah Van Someren

Are You Tribing?

Before coming to G42, I'd often here from alumni describing the group of people as a 'tribe'. It sounded intriguing and vague and it wasn't until two months in did I realize what a tribe actually is. But as my first out of three semesters comes to a close, I've realized just how vital the tribe around you is and how vital your participation is to the tribe.


POEM: Are You Tribing?


Tribe. The noun: A construct of community with common culture and dialect linked by ties of the social, economic or religious variety.


That’s a fine definition and perhaps it isn’t untrue but Lord knows there is more to me…and so much more to you. Far beyond stale, sterile descriptions sifted from the top layer of Webster is the substance of a tribe - the very essence of love that keeps us alive. Spirits bound together with Christ as the head, are much too intricate to simply be read. It isn’t so cleaned up. And it isn’t at all boxed in. Far be it from me to not give google the definition win. We can tell you what a tribe isnt because we dwell in the midst of what it actually is: Not a description based construct but a together built world. A living and breathing state of being worthy of words on words. 


Tribe. The adjective: Connected. Alive. Messy. Perfectly imperfectly intertwined. Not magic but so magical. Symbiotic and sacrificial. Safer than safe and yet scarily close. Belonging. Unified but never identical. Wholeheartedly unwavering and utterly devoted. Abundant giving - never in need. Weird and strange, perhaps even mildly, absolutely insane. Sticky with substance. Thick with mystery. Moving and stirring, teeming with influential harmony. Intricate and expectant, content and secure. Captivating. Compelling. Sanctifying to the millionth degree. You and me, us and we.


And yet, even still, I submit to you this isn’t the full truth. There are pieces missing that are only filled in by living. Beyond the noun, it’s the very person, in the very place, doing the very thing that makes the idea worth consideration at all. Tribe is a verb - it’s that which we do. We do because we are and with Christ formed inside, we say yes in our hearts and make the choice to tribe. 


Tribing is willingly marching into battle when the battle wasn’t first yours. Standing back-to-back, dismantling the war deep inside, spreading the salve of truth over gashes and lies. It’s where the beauty comes from. Tribing is living with eyes open wide no matter what you see or what they say. It’s a kaleidoscoped glass shards dancing in the light of the day. It’s the forever reminding you coins are always two sided - that both belong and the answer is life and death, never right and wrong. It’s grace to your perfection, joy to your pain. It’s your corner brimming with people forever knowing who you are and believing it even when you’ve drifted seemingly too far.


To tribe is a choice, a decision made on purpose. It’s opting into lifelong service. Tribing is dismantling the walls that keep us separate and confined. It’s what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine. It is lingering dinners, bottles of wine and tissues soaked with tears. It’s giggling and laughing long into the night and overcoming fears. Tribing is holding space for me to be me and you to be you. To tribe is to bear hug the fullness of life — every nook, crack and cranny — laying yourself down for your friends turned forever family. 


Now take a moment, look around at your people. Soak in their presence like a long breath at the end of the perfect summers day. If you dare maybe even shed a tear, for the goodness we consume is fruit harvested from the very act of tribing. The essential causation of our thriving.

We - you and me - friends, have been doing it all along.

Church, It’s also known as bringing the Kingdom of God. 


Are you tribing?