There is strength in affiliation.
I suspect there are enough reasonable exceptions to keep that from being axiomatic. But it’s probably true most of the time, else why would affiliations exist?
Some affiliations are simple, and therefore largely uncontroversial. But affiliations concerned with complex constructs—like, oh, those of politics or religion—tend to be complex themselves. It surprises me sometimes how eager people can be to isolate some reason to exclude themselves from an affiliation, even if they are largely aligned with the affiliation’s greater purpose.
It surprises me how often people assume they must be gears instead of considering that they could be motors.
There is no First Church of Bo Williams. There is no Bo Williams Party. I can easily find a reason to exclude myself from any church or political party you can name. However, if I think churches and parties are more good than bad, isn’t it a better path for me to look for the greatest commonality, and then become part of the machine?
My old high school acquaintance Dean Lusk posted a good story recently that I’ve been chewing on. Go read it. It’s not long.
Becoming part of that machine—a church, in this case—makes you stronger. You benefit. To use the example, you get fed. But with that integration comes opportunity to feed others as well. Perhaps it is fraternal/sororal. Perhaps it is spiritual. Perhaps it is intellectual.
You can be led, but you can also lead. You can agree, but you can also define a counterexample. You can announce that the tent extends this far, because well, you’re standing in it.
Affiliating need not be passive by design. Sometimes it’s good to be a gear.
But don’t be afraid to be a motor.