No clans in Christ
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and those of you who may be reading this out of interest. I have been sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the Somalis for more than a decade. What is the gospel? That Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and raised from the dead on the third day. The good news is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and if we believe in Him we will be saved.
We will be saved from our sins, and from hell. But also we will be saved from the corruption of the world. We will no longer follow after the lusts of our flesh, but we will live for God. We will not follow or believe in the caste systems of the world, or believe that the rich are better than the poor. We will treat all people equally.
Unfortunately, many Somalis believe that being a Somali is better than being born in some other nationality. And, most Somalis, if not all of them, believe that it is important for them to stay within their clan. Westerners do not understand the concept of a clan. So let me explain. In Africa, a clan is an extended family originating from one ancestor. Clan members are included in a clan through genealogies. All the members of a clan are related by blood. There are many blood relatives from many, many different aunts and uncles. There are brothers and sisters from the same father but perhaps that father had up to four wives and many children with each wife. The clan is known by its family name.
In Somalia, clans are often led by warlords, especially in the cities. Factions and armies are all based upon blood relationships through the clan. So there will be clans fighting against other clans, and sub clans fighting other sub clans, and even sub-sub clans fighting against other sub-sub clans. Somalis from outside of Somalia send money back home to help support their clan, and at times, to help support warlords.
In the Somali countryside areas clans are often are led by simple nomadic tribesman. A Somali born into a clan will clan depend on the clan for food, water, protection from attacks from other clans, etc.
In Africa your name represents which clan you belong to. It’s like your social identity card. Wherever you go you are first asked what clan you belong to and then you are treated accordingly. If you meet someone from another clan that has a blood feud with your clan, you may be attacked or killed. Somalia’s civil war is based upon clans fighting for the economic and political control of certain cities, or parts of cities, or various parts of the country. Somalia is the only country in the world without a recognized government, and it has been like that for 14 long years, mostly because of clan loyalty.
My point is that in Christ, or when you become a Christian, you no longer belong to your clan. You now belong to Christ. Your identity is no longer with your clan, or with your people, but your identity is now hidden in Christ. You are a Christian, not a clan member. You are a Christian, a follower of Christ, an ambassador for the Lord Jesus.
There are no clans in Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are all brothers and sisters in the family of God. There is no longer a Somali, or an Italian, or a Portuguese, or a Canadian or an American, we are all one in Christ. Isn’t that beautiful? I am your brother and you are my sister and God is our Father and Jesus Christ is our Savior and our brother.
It has been said by many Somali scholars that the clan system, also known of the tribal system, is the greatest enemy of Somali people. If you live with loyalty to your clan you cannot serve God. Jesus Christ said that you cannot serve money and God at the same time. You cannot serve your clan and God at the same time either. You will love one and hate the other. If you are a Somali do not put your clan status above loving your fellow Somalis. Do not put your clan loyalty above doing what is right in the eyes of God Almighty. This is my plea to you.
Jesus Christ includes us in Himself. We are all born of the same Spirit. There is one God, one Lord, and one faith. As Christians we meet together with other brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter what nationality, clan or tribe, they formerly belonged to. As Christians, we belong to a local church, that preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which enables us to grow in Christ. There are no tribes, clans or nationalities in Christ because Christ has destroyed the barriers between them and bought peace between us all.
Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27).
The Bible says: “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” (Eph.3:6).
The Church is multiracial. Because Christ has broken down the barriers that caused hostility between men and God, Christians can live in true peace with all men and God.
My vision is to see Somalis from every clan standing together and worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ and living together in peace and harmony, forgiving each other their sins and treating everyone equally. And also to see Somali Christians from every clan marrying with Somalis from other clans, and marrying Christians from other nationalities. A Somali believer in the US recently married a white American Christian because he was in love with her and they shared the same faith in Jesus Christ. I remember counseling this man and telling him not to wait for a Somali Christian woman to get married, but to marry whom the Lord gives him, because as the Bible says, “a good wife who can find, a good wife is from the Lord.” And if you are a Somali Christian waiting for a Somali Christian somewhere to become your spouse, don’t wait. Marry the Christian woman or man with whom you fall in love with. If you share the same faith and love in the Lord Jesus Christ it will not matter what nationality they are, as long as they are a true Christian.
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
In the time of Jesus and His disciples there were many Greeks and Jews. And the Bible says that “there is no longer Greek or Jew” but we are all one in Christ. Somalis and other Christians were formerly Greeks and Jews, but we are no longer what we were. That means Somalis are no longer Somalis, but Christians. Pakistanis are no longer Pakistanis, but Christians. We who were born away from the Spirit of God have now by God, in his Son Jesus, been born by the Spirit of God and reconciled to God. God has united those different Christians into a new body, called the Church. We are one in Christ. This reconciliation occurred because of Christ.
As a Sinner, before we were saved by Jesus and brought into Christ and his church, we were excluded from citizenship in God’s heavenly kingdom and outside of the Covenants of promise found in Jesus Christ. Before Christ, we had no hope. We as sinners were bound for the Lake of Fire and eternal horror, with Satan and his demons. But, our Lord Jesus came and died and arose from the dead, and made life with God possible for life is worthless without God. Only the blood Of Jesus, achieved this, nothing we can do as humans.
“…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20).
Christ has done away with the Law of Moses, which had its religious rules to it. He did this through His body and His blood. Shedding his blood and having his body broken to pay our Sin Debt. Unlike other religions like Islam or other World religions, there is nothing we do, since Jesus has done it all for us. Jesus has enabled the Sinner to be free from Sin, saved from the curse of death that came with Sin. Through Jesus, we have access not only to Jesus but also with his Father (now our Father) through his one Spirit. It is through the blood of Christ that we all can become brothers and sisters in one family, the family of God.
“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Eph 3:12).
“giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”(Col. 1:12).
In the Church of Christ, we are no longer outsiders but citizens with other Christians. This means not only Somali Christians, but other Christians. No matter their nationality, clan or tribe. And Somalis have to stop thinking that should only strive to serve the Lord in a Somali context, as many missionaries want. In fact, some missionaries do not want Somalis to join mainstream churches because then the missionaries would be out a job. No more language classes, no more boasting about their second language, no more money.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”(Phillipians 3: 20,21).
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10).
To be truly saved means to live for the heavenly things and not the earthly things. Cultural identity, nationality, and the like are from the earth and are worldly. God has promised to save us “out of the world” which means to be saved from the sins of our culture, which any Somali will tell you lying is one of the greatest sins in Somali culture.
We need to build on the things which the Apostles and Prophets have laid before us and we have Christ Jesus as our cornerstone.
“He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” (Acts 4:11).
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.” (1 Cor.3:10,11).
“now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:3).
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:3-8).
Without Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, our Salvation is in vain (useless). Our unity as Christians is based on what Christ Jesus has done for us and nothing else. There is nothing that we could ever do for ourselves. It’s through Jesus, that we as Christians are joined together. And through Jesus, that Christians become his Holy Temple. Plus, its through Jesus that we are being built up into a dwelling place, in which God can live by his Spirit (the Holy Spirit). Our Father in heaven, desires that the Church becomes a people or a community of saved believers to whom the Holy Spirit can live.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor.3:16).
Don’t forget who died for you. It was Christ and His blood that has saved you. He died for all men reconciling the whole world unto Himself.