Lonely or Connected?

In the U.S. today, people are probably as isolated and lonely as they have been at any point in history. It seems strange, because we also have more ways to connect than at any point in history. How can both of those seemingly opposite statements be simultaneously true? Does that problem extend into the life of the church?
In his book, Why Do We Feel Lonely at Church?, Jeremy Linneman addresses the epidemic of loneliness. “I’ve studied loneliness, belonging, and community, and I’m convinced we don’t fully understand the pervasiveness of individualism—and how much it is hurting us as believers. To what extent do Christians experience loneliness? And how can the church respond to the loneliness epidemic?”
God designed the church to be a place where we are connected. When you think of the various analogies used in scripture, connection is necessary and assumed. The church is the branches attached to the Vine, the body and His family—all things that depend on and thrive through connection. Still, many can feel disconnected. We should not be content with that.
Linneman has a word of encouragement or motivation for us. For the introverts, it might even be a challenge, but it is a worthwhile one. “If you are finding it hard to make friends, you’re not crazy. Friendship is challenging in a society like this—even in the church. But the answer is not to lower your expectations and prepare for loneliness. The answer is to confront the challenge directly, reject the isolation and division of our times, and embrace real, meaningful, face-to-face relationships with imperfect people. By God’s grace and intentional steps, we can do this. You belong here.”
Like so many things in life, it will take our effort to connect in deeper community. Let’s keep connecting as family here at Southwest. That’s the plan God has for us.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. – 1 Corinthians 12:12

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