The Hierarchy of Kinship

The order of all things.

The Hierarchy of Kinship represents a specific order of relationships any healthy Christian society ought to teach and put into practice. For much of the last two thousand years, this cascading sequence of connections happened automatically. In the last two or three centuries, it has experienced steady erosion from the forces of modernity. While an understanding of this graph may be useful to any Christian community or denomination, it is an integral part of the Protarian church.

God > Jesus > Family > Tribe > Church

The first, most important bond any Christian has is between God and himself. We owe all of our blessings to God. All of our thanks and praise. The gift of life itself we get to enjoy every day, the promise of eternal life—all of that comes from God. We acknowledge the mistaken notion of the feminist mindset that God is nothing but love who is hoping we will be best friends with him. Our relationship with God is one of reverence and worship. We know God is a loving God, but we acknowledge love also means correction. Sometimes even anger. Because of that, we also have a healthy fear and respect for God and his wrath. Finally, we believe humans are designed to worship, and according to scripture, the only healthy outlet our worship can be directed towards is God. It’s not because God needs us to worship him, but because we do.

We can’t approach the throne of God directly, however. Long ago, that would have required the services of a priest—someone who could make the proper sacrifice to warrant asking God to forgive us of our sin. Through his blameless life and death on the cross, Jesus became our high priest. We can now approach the throne of God through him. Because of his crucifixion, he became the proper and final sacrifice. We call Jesus Lord not only because we honor the work he has done, but because we worship him—not in the same way we worship God, of course, but with a reverence befitting our Messiah and Savior. Similarly, we call Jesus King because he will one day reign over all Creation. The future kingdom of God will not be a democracy. It will have a monarch, a King—Jesus—and every knee will bow down before him. Every tongue will confess he is Lord.

The next area of kinship is our family. For adults, this starts with your wife or husband and then extends to your children and beyond. As a husband, your role is to provide safety and stability for your wife. You are to make sure she knows she is beautiful and desired. You are to provide the means with which both of you can raise a family. As a wife, your role is to serve and take care of your husband. You are to provide a nurturing and loving home in which Godly children might flourish. Both of your extended families should also benefit from these relationships, sharing wisdom and resources wherever possible. Living apart from your children and/or extended families should be avoided if at all possible. The goal is physical togetherness.

After family comes tribe, an integral component of kinship nearly absent from most Christians’ lives today. There is an entire chapter explaining tribe later in this book but for now, just know tribes are made up of the people you live amongst and share religious, political, and social beliefs with. The people you happen to live near—your neighbors, for instance—are not necessarily your tribe. The people you go to church with—they aren’t necessarily part of your tribe. Ideally, people in the same tribe share the same ethnicity, native language, and even socioeconomic class. Tribes have offered families a profound sense of people and belonging for thousands of years, something much more meaningful than what most people alive today have experienced.

The last expression of kinship is your church. Churches emanate from healthy tribes. They are a place where different families from the same tribe come together to worship God and share in each other’s blessings. The worship, fellowship, and mission work of the church is the end result of a properly functioning kinship hierarchy. What started with God ends with God. What started with gifts and blessings to us ends with worship and thanksgiving back to him.

Each one of these things forms the single step of a larger sequence that helps us live a joyful and Godly life. While each step has a specific goal, there are likely many other goals with a larger scope—goals that span across family and tribe or tribe and church, for instance.

With these five layers of kinship in order, the stability of our families, our tribes, and our churches will come much more easily. Some of you may have already put these concepts into practice without realizing it. For most, the absence of tribe is the biggest difference between the way they currently live and the way this graph suggests is best—a big reason why Protarians place so much emphasis on it.

Interested in Tribes?

While other denominations might send missionaries to Africa or Asia to start churches, Protarians consider helping people find their tribe—or starting a new tribe—to be our primary mission work. If you’re a Christian (of any denomination) and interested in the Biblical model for tribes, you can read “The Tribal Instinct,” available in print here or through Amazon in print, digital, and audiobook versions.

Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking to find a people and place for your family to call home—we may be able to help.

An image of the front of 'The Tribal Instinct' book. It is an off-white color with three large words (THE TRIBAL INSTINCT) in an uppercase serif font, centered and stacked on top of each other. The type is black with the exception of the word, Tribal, which is red and italicized. Underneath is the subtitle in smaller type, 'The Sacred Desire for People and Place.' On top of the title is a small primitive illustration, like a cave painting, of a man throwing a spear followed by a visibly pregnant woman.

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