There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

lonely, yet preferring insulation? What gives?

Letting you in on the theme of Sunday’s lesson from Ecclesiastes 4:1-16: the necessity of holy connectedness.

If, in fact, connectedness covers a multitude of sins, why, then, might we be so averse to being known or taking the time to know one another?

It’s not that there aren’t any good reasons for our hesitation to be more courageous or bold in becoming involved in one another’s lives (and messes), but surely we can isolate a few reasons why the preference for isolation still exceeds our desire for connection.

Ideas? Guesses? Shots in the dark?


  Bonnie wrote @

Fear is a great adverse motivator. To be involved in another’s life means that you must allow someone to be involved in yours, as well. Past pain or rejection, or even just the knowledge that other people are fallible (as are we), can be scary enough to keep us away from seeking true connection.

I know, personally, I was perhaps overtaught the necessity of not putting trust in other flawed people, but trusting only in an infallible God. This is true in the overall understanding of life, but can be detrimental to Body health if overstressed. In my case, I held on to this so tightly that it cause me to be wary of building relationships under the assumption that they would necessarily fail. And when a few of those relationships did fail, it drove me even further from being willing to seek connection out of fear of being hurt.

  AmyTheUte wrote @

Thank you for your comments this morning Patrick. I could go on what seems like forever talking about how isolated people are these days. It’s so tricky. Sometimes almost demanded by society; and then other times, people are criticized for being too nosey, when in fact they are really just trying to develop a meaningful friendship. People don’t want to be rejected – we talk about this all the time at the university level – suitemates will IM each other for 10 feet away – it’s safer. So how do we get around it? As Christians, embracing our joy in the Cross is a firm foundation for community. I still see a lot of people who are Christians, “good” ones, yet tight-knit relationships are an on-going problem. I have hope and faith, though, that relationships will prosper on God’s timing. ?!? ~ Amy the New Yorker

  Patrick Lafferty wrote @

Astute observations from both of you! Fear, societal itchy-trigger finger against any form of “intrusion”–the deck is all too stacked against forming relationships essential to being human. (and nice synthesis of the last three weeks of Ecclesiastes discussion, Amy!)

Ironic and interesting story today about isolation: http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/07/31/lonely.nation.ap/index.html

it’s not isolated (ha!) to the 20/30-something demographic. Both a comment in this article and something I heard second-hand from an editorial from the late, Meg Greenfield: we place such a premium on finding a mate that we lose touch with a whole support-structure; in turn we put so much pressure on the mate to provide everything we need–a level of pressure no marriage was meant to bear without the help of said support structure. As if to say (or ask rhetorically), are you as committed to pursuing some “providential friendships” as you are to finding someone with whom to share the rest of your life in the exclusive context of marriage?

  Brian Marquis wrote @

Sheesh! Maybe we’re just too busy chasing the mice inside our heads – or just plain too busy. But how do things get this way? Fear? Past rejections and hurt? Probably. But what happens when you get past that fear (or you just simply can’t stand it anymore) and you realize that you are locked into a busy career/school schedule that doesn’t allow for the nurturing of intimate friendships? And what if the people you desire to know are stuck in the same situation.

Oh, to know and be known intimately by just one other human being on this rock – to take our relationship with Christ out of the ether and have it displayed in each other more than just a couple of hours a week. At that rate we’ll never have the intimacy we so desperately need. Besides, deep friendships like that are forged in the crucibles of time and trials – anything else seems so manufactured, and deep down, we know it.

So where does that leave us? Sitting around waiting for something to drop out of the sky? Hmm.. I suppose we could do that. That would be safe. Hey, in this case – safe sucks, people! Seriously – eventually we all get sick of ourselves! Even if we are super-spiritual and content to simply spend all of our spare time quietly with God, when will we then spend time caring for each other?

We just have to step out and take risks, folks. Big ones. We’re going to hurt and be hurt, disappoint and be disappointed. These are opportunities to obey God’s command to forgive. Oh yeah, that one… what, are we out of practice? Look– Jesus knew that a relationship with each of us would cost him dearly, yet he comes to us anyway. So, what are we afraid of?

Christ can work with us where we are and lead us to greener pastures. The more I beat my head against the wall trying to do things my way, the more I learn that prayer is all I can do. There is no quick fix to our woes, but we could do a lot worse than saturating our lives with prayer and the Word.

So, here I am. One screwed-up, fallen sinner saved by grace, trying to figure out what it means to live by faith. I’ll disappoint you and eventually, I’ll hurt you deeply. Oh, and I have lots of baggage, too. Wanna get a cup of coffee?

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