Thursday, September 08, 2011

Community - Healthy; Loneliness - Unhealthy

The Economist has an article claiming that loneliness could be bad for your health.

"Lonely people, it seems, are at greater risk than the gregarious of developing illnesses associated with chronic inflammation, such as heart disease and certain cancers. According to a paper published last year in the Public Library of Science, Medicine, the effect on mortality of loneliness is comparable with that of smoking and drinking."

Loneliness is not necessarily the absence of people around you. You could be in a mega-church and disconnected. The healthy place to be is: in authentic community. Tribal cultures have community as their default setting. We in America, on the other hand, live in an individuated culture. So I promote, at Redeemer, Home Groups.

Last Sunday morning I encouraged our people to begin a Home Group. Home Groups are small (6-12) gatherings of Jesus-followers who come together weekly for sharing, prayer, Bible study and discussion. I have been in a Home Group setting every year of my 41 years of following after Jesus. Our Home Group met last evening. I don't lead it, but participate in it. Linda and I love it! Home Group is therapeutic in many ways.

As a pastor if someone at Redeemer is connected in a Home Group I feel better about them and our church. In that setting they will receive prayer and care and encouragement that I cannot give. And, according to The Economist, they may be more physcially healthy and live longer lives.