So last night I was watching "The Devils Ride" again. It's hard, given my current living situation but I find it where I can and what I can't watch, I can get in pieces on the Discovery Channel page.
The club has been in turmoil. The founding Prez left and has been subsequently disgraced. In fact his disgrace is such that I won't speak his name or mention him from here on out. Because it's despicable to me.
Anyway, a new Prez was installed last year, and that's really been the premise of the show since it's inception...how the club was handling growing pains, how the older members were accepting the influx of new blood and whether the new blood was even a good idea. I could write a whole thread on this alone in comparison to the church and our discomfort with modernity but that's not really the lesson here.
The topic has been brotherhood and how it's demonstrated in the church compared to how the Laffing Devils demonstrate it amongst each other.
Yet another leadership change rendered the group in chaos. Last night there was a group of new members brought in to replenish the dwindling numbers. They seemed green to me and I felt uncomfortable with it. It's not my club, but I have watched this group of men carefully and I was imagining how this must have made some of the older guys feel. There was a comment made about guys getting their patch (which means you can ride with the club) without doing any prospecting. Prospecting is that period where you are essentially being checked out, poked, prodded, and investigated as to your character, your trustworthiness, your willingness and ability to behave like a real brother and your accepting of your low rank when you first come in. Are you going to be willing to prove yourself or are you arrogant and a hot dog who thinks he should be a full member right away?
Lots of men think they belong in a group like this. Most of them are pretenders who are weeded out right away. A few more fall out after a short while. Precious few prove themselves over again until they are trusted and finally accepted as brothers.
But that's the point...
You are becoming a brother. You aren't joining a bowling league or drinking beers by the curb with Hank Hill. This is a serious membership, not to be trifled with. When the crap hits the fan and you are up against it, these men will not run. They will stand by your side. If you are wrong, they will still stand by your side. They'll call you on it privately, but in public it's you and them against the world. They expect the same from you. That's why getting a patch, and eventually your colors, is nothing to hand out like candy at Halloween.
It's the same in the Church. We throw around the terms "Brother" so frequently that we don't even realize it anymore, and we certainly don't think about the enormity of what those words mean.
I am essentially an orphan. I have a biological family that I am not a part of for various reasons. Not to all of them at least. I have three brothers and I have no relationship with any of them. One of them I've never even met. But I always wanted a close brother. I wanted to be one of the Unsers or the Matthews brothers. I am a hockey player...I wish I had been a Sutter.
I have a real, strong definition of brotherhod and I don't like being called "brother" if you aren't going to be my brother.
The church is bad about this sometimes. We have called each other brothers for so long that it's just a word now. We have "patched" so many new brothers without "prospecting" them first that our "Colors" have been cheapened just a bit. I'm not talking about doubting the Christianity of those men in the church, but I think brotherhood needs to be proved, whether it's in a motorcycle club or a prayer group.
Last night, the older members raised objections to the new, untested patches. I agree. I refrain from calling someone my brother for the same reason as Danny Boy argued about easy patches; Nobody has proved nothin'!
Stand by me for a while first. When my night is dark and cold and I am worried about my future or my daughter, let's see who is still around when the sun comes up again. When I am broken down by the side of the rode and can't find my tool box and it's 2 AM...let's see who answers the phone. Even if I called them just last week for the same reason. That is a brother. Whether you are my brother in Jesus or my brother in blood and membership in a motorcycle club...a brother is a sacred thing.
A brother is what Vietnam vets call each other. It's what the LDMC call each other. It means you're family.
You can't give yourself the title...you earn it.
Christians would do well to prove themselves to each other a little more.
...by being brothers.