LONELINESS IN THE CHURCH
I’m reading a book by Wesley Hill called Spiritual Friendship. It is part of my quest to learn how we can be a deeply loving church where all are included, and no one feels lonely.
Do you ever feel lonely? In a church community no one should feel this way, but we sometimes do. It is even possible for people to be very busy in the church—perhaps even leaders in the church—and yet lack deep friendships.
This isn’t how it is supposed to be. It’s not how it was in the early church, and it’s not how it should be today. But how do we break through the relationship barrier to become a community in which men and women, young and old, “red, yellow, black and white” all feel at home? How can the church live Christ’s vision of loving community in a society that pushes us toward isolation? We need to find the way.
We all need the kind of fellowship I am talking about. People without a strong support system will feel the need even more acutely. Wesley Hill, who wrote the book I mentioned, Spiritual Friendship, is a celibate gay Christian. He represents a demographic that desperately needs meaningful Christian fellowship but often can’t find it. Single men and women also face challenges when it comes to experiencing deep community.
Pastor Cris, our new second pastor, shares my passion for deep community. When he arrives we will be talking together about this topic and we will be speaking with our leaders about it, as well. As we prayerfully work together, I am confident that we can become the kind of community Christ wants us to be. –Pastor Tom
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