This post by Michael Shaw was originally published at Seventy Two
For my entire life, as a child of the early Seventies, I have been a Star Wars fan. I remember my Dad showing me soundless reels of Star Wars (A New Hope) on his cine camera. I had every Star Wars figure and my uncle would often bring back cheap Star Wars toys when he went to America.
So I’m now watching the Book of Bobba Fett every week. I loved Bobba Fett as a child, in order to buy the Star Wars figure you had to collect Star Wars figure boxes, cut the names off (as proof of purchase) and send to the toy company to get your figure (28 days for delivery – a weird concept to the Amazon Prime generation). I still remember the day it arrived in the post!
The new Disney series is an offshoot of the Mandalorian, and tells the story of this, mostly mute in the films, bounty hunter as he “reforms” and becomes a leader who rules “with justice” rather than fear.
The TV series explores his story in two timelines; the earlier timeline is his escape from death, and his liminal experience living with Tuscan Raiders (Sand People), where a new light is shed on their culture and unlike in the films, that are portrayed as a tight knit family with a historic culture.
When they are all slaughtered, Bobba Fett is distraught, but his experience with them has shaped him and when he meets fellow bounty hunter Fennec Shand, she thinks his experience with the Tuscan Raiders had weakened him. But he proclaims:
“no, it has made me strong…you can only get so far without a tribe”
In our modern evangelical church world, we have become obsessed with our own individualism, and personal salvation seems to have become the predominant mantra – “is Jesus your personal saviour?” the question we need to answer.
Jesus called us into a Relationship with God, and yet we talk about that personal relationship as being with Jesus alone. It could be argued he never called anyone into a relationship with him at all, but to the Triune God, but that is a different question!
When he called the disciples to “follow me” he called them into a community of faith, a band of brothers and sisters who laid their lives down, their ambitions down and their dreams down, to follow him. He never promised it would be easy, but he knew that what would get them through, what would make them strong was their community, their tribe.
It was their tribe that would be the source of their strength. Sadly for many of us “church” is not our tribe, and by church I mean more than just what we do for 2 hours at 10.30am on a Sunday! Many of us are not committed to our community. We see it as source for things. It is a place for our children to be taught, us to be “fed” or a place of entertainment for our souls. It is often not something we give our lives to; a community of mutual submission. For many of us Christianity is a nice add on to an otherwise busy life.
Sadly in our individualised society, the counter cultural idea of living for others has been consumed by Gospel of “personal” salvation. We have lost the idea that there is strength in community, and that in community we find a much higher value of justice and peace..you can only get so far without a tribe.