Thursday, April 10, 2008

Voluntary Justice (6) The Modern World

Free submission to tribal leaders provides a foundation for voluntary justice. A tribal culture has three important characteristics.

  • Loyalty between members of the tribe.
  • Submission to the authority of tribal leaders.
  • Leaders responsible for well-being of tribal members.
The problem in the modern world is that tribal affiliations have been destroyed. People no long belong to a tribe, so individuals are isolated and society is disjointed. This creates problems for voluntary justice. Most people would not recognise anyone they will freely submit to (other than employers). There is no one with sufficient moral authority to persuade them to submit to justice, so justice must be imposed by force.

The good news is that the role of the tribe can be fulfilled by community-based churches that function in the way that I described in my book Being Church Where We Live. A church has the following characteristics.
  • Church members committed to loving each other.
  • Submission to the authority of elders.
  • Elders responsible for caring for church members.
These three characteristics parallel the characteristics of tribes listed above. Community-based churches can become the new tribes.

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