Be a Faithful Citizen, Not a Lone Ranger

"In Western culture, the high regard for autonomy and obsession with individualism has come at a cost: community. This lack of community (coupled with other factors) has contributed to rising loneliness, affecting our physical and mental well-being. In the church, it’s affecting our spiritual health too." - TGC

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Ed Vasicek's picture

The matter is not quite that simple.  It is not merely western culture's high regard for individualism.  Robert Putnam has documented how each generation since the Great Generation has been significantly less social than the previous one.  Bowling leagues, clubs, organizations, lodges, and other groups that require commitment have all taken huge hits.  

People are not reared with social skills and have lost the art of enjoying other people.  Americans used to be much more connected (although individualistic in some ways, too) than we see today. They used to know their neighbors. So now we have churches that offer an entire social life without requiring the social skills that make for truly good relationships. As one author puts it, we created "forced and constrained" relationships that aren't natural because people do not know how to connect on their own without it being structured for them.  This is part of the draw of the mega-church with its many groups.

It is difficult even to get people to put down their cell phones and do things beyond video games and Facebook.

"The Midrash Detective"