Here is a section from an article on making singleness better:
But perhaps his [Paul’s] strongest response would be to the extreme loneliness many single people experience. I do not think that, in commending singleness, Paul was also commending a life without quality long-term relationships. The thought would have distressed him. A quick tour through his letters gives us every indication that he knew a lot of people, and that he knew them well; in some sense, Paul experienced our future—a multitude of great relationships with his brothers and sisters in Christ from every nation, people and tribe. Paul was not married, but neither was he lonely. I think he would see this epidemic of loneliness as a major moral failure of the church to be the church, and, perhaps, more particularly, a moral failure of families to treat those not in their family as family. The church is a family, and we are to treat those in the church as family—not by lowering the standard with which we treat our family, but by raising the standard with which we treat others. For this ideal to become a reality, I suggest that our thinking and action proceed along two lines—firstly, in the habits of families and secondly, in the structure and design of our churches.
It’s old, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
Here’s a test: Spend one day surfing the Internet and spend another roaming your neighborhood. See how many good dinner table stories you have after each. There won’t be a contest.
I can’t remember how I got here, but that’s where I found this.
Fear of failure.
Fear of looking foolish.
Fear of looking less than perfect.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of others judging me.
Fear of not impressing others.
Fear of not looking extraordinary.
My fears are silly. It’s all about my ego. When it comes to living in community, I need to get out of the way.
A friend posted about Community. Read it for the context of this post.
I have thought about this too! My opinion: it’s easier to write than speak. It gives every party time to think through their response, to phrase and rephrase things to their liking, eventually submitting some comment that reveals their best and wisest face. I even did it while writing the previous sentence (and this one).
Writing allows our thoughts to be refined and precise. The issue is, people aren’t like that. People are rough, flawed, fallen. To present our thoughts in a pristine, beautiful form has great value, but it loses some of our character. We don’t get to interact with the messy side of people. And the messy side is big deal.
Dealing with imperfect people also allows for closer fellowship. Understanding and copping with others’ flaws helps me know them, love them, be gracious with them, in spite of the difficulties. And not only do I know them, but they get to know me! My sin gets stirred up when someone aggravates me. I have tons of flaws, more than enough to go around. Yet through it all, community can survive, even flourish!
None of this really addresses how to reach out to that neighbor, coworker, or friend of a friend. But it starts the discussion. I’ll save those thoughts for a future post.
(p.s. I am looking for folks to run with, so hit me up if you’re interested)