Fraternal Christian Society
A fraternal Christian society is simply a fraternal society based on a clearly defined Christian-based identity, vision, mission, and lifestyle prescribed through some form of a freewill covenant association, or charter, that governs their lives together.
In the case we present, Christians who intentionally adopt a new national identity, becoming Peers of Upadaria, form a society of their own. But there are many other ways to approach this: Christians of the same denomination might form such a society, Christians of a similar ethnic background might form a society, or Christians of a similar calling or vocation/profession.
A fraternal Christian society would have a shared mission and vision to serve others, it would operate fraternal and other benefits on a mutual basis for members, it would promote a particular Christian lifestyle or philosophy, and it would establish local facilities both to hold fraternal and social activities and to provide ministry or other services to the greater public.
In the US, it would operate a lodge system which interestingly enough, wouldn’t be much different than the various “ecclesia” within the 1st century world. You see this in Acts when the “church” in Jerusalem sends people out to plant new Christian communities and when they send out letters to their daughter churches regarding standards. Spaces owned by the Society for fraternal and social activities are not open to the public, by law. They are open to the members and their guests. This accords both privacy and autonomy in a sociocultural and even economic sense.
A society could operate other facilities, as we see in a the Fraternal Community, and can own different entities, even for-profit businesses or non-profit ministries.
A fraternal society should have its own ritual and ceremony, which would be Biblical and can be simple. This is something that, if you have it, will prevent the IRS from questioning your status.
A fraternal society is more or less “democratic”, though through orders and degrees, participation is in fact determined by your standing. So, it is not a pure democracy, but can be a meritocracy or, as we say it, a “nobility of merit.” The idea of formally recognizing standing through the acclimation and confirmation process is in fact Biblical, we should honor those who serve the best, and we should always hold people accountable to a common standard and to their community.
A fraternal society has to have a clear fraternal bond that is unique to its members. In our case, the bind is an intentional spiritual ethnicity, Upadarian, as well as the shared lifestyle and shared vision and mission upon which that national identity is based. Only people who adopt that ethnicity are members.
Your society might be for German Christians or African-American Christians, or for Pentecostals or Orthodox Christians. One caveat on national/ethnic identities is that, while you may be legally free to based your ethnicity solely on biological ancestry, for us, ethnicity is a sociocultural construct. We don’t embrace the concept of blood-based ethnicity or race, per se. True, most ethnic groups, or nations as we call them, will be mostly made up of people from a common ancestry, in reality the ultimate factor is whether they choose to adhere to the sociocultural norms and way of life of that group. All throughout history people have rejected such ethnic identities as they were born into and people have been adopted into other ethnic peoples despite not having a shared ancestry with them.
In short, we don’t think your blood ancestry is the determining factor in nationality, even if we also believe we should all honor and respect our actual blood ancestors and not bring shame upon them. So, if you create a fraternal society on the basis of race, or even racism, which may be your right in some legal systems, for our part we reject such notions as the basis of nationality or fraternity.
Before God we have no race or ethnicity, and we must, we believe, understand nationality as a lifestyle choice, not a cause of separation from Christians of other national peoples. Our nationality, the Upadarian nation, is a sociocultural construct more than anything else, though it has deep spiritual roots which it shares with all Christian nations of people and with all Christians in general.
In theory, an African-American group could include members who have been adopted into that nation of people even though they have no ancestors who lived in Africa. Likewise, a person whose ancestors lives in Africa could in fact be adopted into a community of people whose national lifestyle is defined as German, on account of their adoption of that national way of life. While this is likely to be rare, as most people will tend to remain part of the national community they were born into, it is possible
But many Christians in the West have no specific national identity that is all or mostly based on a Christian lifestyle and governance discipline. They may opt to create a sub-nation within a larger national people, such as “Christian African-Americans” or even “Christian Americans.” We envision a new national people, the world’s first INTENTIONAL fraternal nation of people who adopt this nationality and who comes from many diverse ancestral backgrounds and from all around the world.
Sometimes we’ll use the term fraternal society and fraternal nation seemingly interchangeably. But the nation is anyone who chooses and adopts the national identity by living that way of life as much as they can. Nobody has to join any group or formal organization to be part of a national people. One of my nested national identities, based on part of my ancestry, is that of the Germans and, more specifically, the Prussians. I don’t need to join a German or Prussian fraternal society to say this is one of me nested national identities.
Note here, one can adopt an intentional nationality, like Upadarian, and not renounce their ancestral nationality. This is partly why we use the term fraternal nation- is the nation whose way of life you mostly or solely practice. An ancestral nationality may color how you life that lifestyle, and you may honor it, but it doesn’t have to be your primary temporal nationality.
Of course, as Christians, our eternal and root nationality is that of being a Christian, and we share this with all Christians. All other temporal nationalities are nested within this one, or at least they should be.
A fraternal Christian society is rooted in one or more nationalities, but what should be common among all such societies is their root and most important nationality, that of “Christian”, which they share with all Christians. A fraternal society which claims to be Christians and yet is not based on this core identity and is not open to ANY Christian who adopts its temporal national identity and way of life (regardless of ancestry) does not really meet this standard.
So a fraternal Christian society is more or less based on a shared nationality, rooted in the deeper and transcendent nationality of being a Christian. It provides an organizational architecture and infrastructure for pooling resources, enforcing shared standards, imparting its way of life and carrying our its mission while ensuring that its members who work lack for nothing and caring for its members who cannot take care of themselves.