Cliques: Turning Forests Into Jungles

We’ve grown familiar with them.

Cliques are a brutal aspect of social communities everywhere. I’m sure everyone remembers middle school and high school and the various groups that exsisted. There were the jocks, the goths, the nerds and the ever-revered popular kids. For fledgling scholars looking for identity in these institutions, the desire to join a group as previously described, can burn deep. From the outside, such a circle looks like a safe haven and a place where one can find safety and acceptance.

However, breaching access to such a group can be as impending as getting into Fort Knox. Youth will change everything about themselves that makes them unique, to blend in and camouflage, going to great lengths so as to not draw any attention to what makes them special.

Cliques stop in college, right?

Here’s the worst parts about cliques: they can be formed by people of all ages, not just middle or high school students. No matter what age you are or what social setting you may find yourself in, there’s always a certainty that a clique will be near and in sight. Whether it’s kids sporting Jordan’s and condemning anyone who doesnt, or old dudes in yacht clubs (nothing against yachts), people will find something to flaunt, and become exclusive over it. People will participate and attempt to enter them for the same reasons, regardless of their age.

Why these social cliques are so destructive in a Christian setting…

I’ve obviously revealed my stance on cliques: I despise them. Believe me, I’m not perfect and I personally have been guilty of participating in such a system and excluding others for superfluous reasons such as clothing, mannerisms, etc.  However, unfortunately Christians, who obviously should shun such behavior, often do not. In a place like a Christian university, cliques are an all too common occurrence. In a place where individuals are encouraged to thrive and grow into the person Christ has called them to be, these social circles, where people intentionally exclude others, are truly a travesty. It is truly tragicwhen Christians grind down their unique gifts and features to fit a seemingly popular mold. A place such as Regent (or any other school that claims to raise Christ followers) should be a community where individuals fosters an individual’s pursuit of calling, not necessarily towards a certain field or job, but to the holistic person God has called them to be.

Essentially, in the most simple terms, cliques turn a forest of beauty, where unique individuals find joy in flourishing and sticking out among the mundane, to a dangerous jungle where one fears to be seen.

Philip is a Contributor to the Daily Runner.