For years I played basketball with a group of folks from 5:30AM to 7AM three days a week. Like me, most had played since they were little kids and had a true love for the game.
I have a group of friends who love cars. When a car goes by, they can tell you all sorts of stats and facts about that particular car. I have been a ‘car person’ since I was a young lad, when my dad passed along his knowledge and love of cars.
I love to read. I read books, blogs, periodicals – if there are words (like on the back of a cereal box), I read them. I share back and forth daily with friends, family and co-workers the things we think the other may enjoy reading.
I would consider all of these affinity groups. Simply put, this is a group of people with a shared interest or passion. In these affinity groups, the shared interest or passion is seen as inherently valuable. Reading, basketball, cars for my peeps all have a higher value than say, video games, curling, or stamps. Yet in other affinity groups, folks are very passionate about those things, and as such they hold a high value for those groups. It’s good and healthy for us to share our interest and passions with those who feel the same.
The challenge comes when one affinity group believes that the thing they are passionate about is not just different, but truly superior to others. Embedded in that belief is a sense that one’s values are superior to others. So if I believe that basketball is an intense, high cognitive level, strategic activity and curling is just folks rolling on the ice I have made clear that what I value is superior to what others value.
Taking the point to a much deeper level, when we believe our ethnic background, country of origin, gender, age, orientation, faith expression or any other part of us is superior to others, we are in dangerous waters. As people who have chosen to follow in the Way of Jesus, let us hold fast to the words from Galatians, “for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”