If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Americans are well known for their rugged individualism. Many of us have grown up with the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves,” repeated to them throughout their formative years.
We are raised to be fiercely independent people, relying on our own ingenuity, effort, intelligence, skills, and strength to achieve whatever it is we hope to achieve. We do not usually think in terms of large group identity, unless it comes to attacks on the nation, such as what we saw after Pearl Harbor or September 11, 2001.
Americans hold grudges, taking offenses personally. I have worked for foreign owned companies, and my foreign colleagues would argue on the job over a point but as soon as the workday ended, they would say “meet at the bar? I am buying the first round” and the day’s disagreement was tabled because it was not personal thus did not affect their personal life or relationship. But not Americans; one disagreement or offense and a rift is formed for life, sometimes being passed on to friends and family leading to a generational curse of unforgiveness. Just think Hatfield and McCoy.
In the last couple of years COVID-19 caused a mass isolation, adding to the individualism, that many have not recovered from because they have grown comfortable “not peopleing.” Only going out if they must and then right back home to isolate once again, even doing their shopping online to avoid going out for any length of time.
But what happens when we grow too independent or just isolate ourselves from our communities? The answer is probably worse than you thought as there are emotional, physical and mental consequences, as well as negative impacts to our communities.
With isolation you suffer physically, as evidenced in a study at University of Chicago Medical Center that reported social alienation can lead to increased tumor growth, abnormal growths and reduction in physical health and longevity. You can literally feel body chills from isolation. You can suffer mentally with a decreased ability to learn, have a decreased sense of empathy, increased risk of dementia, reduced resilience, and weakened immune system ultimately leading to a shortened life span.
Isolation impacts the community, volunteerism drops, and small businesses cannot compete with corporations who can ship or deliver so they close. Losing businesses not only causes job loss, but also loss of tax revenue needed to keep public services going.
Property values drop because no one wants to live in a ghost town or community that does not even have a volunteer fire department to come rescue them when in trouble.
And for the followers of Christ, how can you tell the world the good news of the gospel if you do not go into the world? Did Jesus not command us to go and tell the good news of salvation to all nations? Jesus did not say sit in your isolation and the nations will come to you; he said go. As Romans 10:14-15 reminds us, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” and do it in love, as a quote my father used often, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”
There is a video of a famous atheist Penn Gillete from Penn & Teller, the Vegas magician guys. A man after a show tells Penn about Jesus, looking him in the eye, speaking humbly, and gives him a Bible; Penn is very complimentary about the whole deal. His entire point of the video is to talk about how good of a man he is and how hateful you must be if you believe in Jesus and eternal life and don’t tell other people about Him. You can see his video on YouTube here https://youtu.be/6md638smQd8.
So where am I going with this? Well, your community is what you make of it, what you participate in, are patrons of, and this means you must leave what you feel is your comfort zone and step out. Interact with others in your community in various activities, for your health, for your sanity, for a community that your children and grandchildren would want to move back into.
Equality has a history that included stories of so many buggies parked along Highway 9 from all the bustling businesses. And now, even on First Saturdays, you can easily park your car and walk around town almost alone.
Want to live longer, healthier and happier? Get out and be part of the community, visit a local church you have never visited before, volunteer, browse a local store, attend a performance at EPAC.
Want to get out but have nowhere to go? EPAC’s doors are unlocked six days a week, sometimes seven, and you are welcome to just sit and crochet or knit, watch some videos, or listen to music. Or organize a craft day, book club, Bible study, game night, or just a social gathering to meet there for coffee and chats.
A funny thing happens when a car pulls up to a building; other cars pull up, as well. If someone walks into a business to browse, others stop, as well. Be that cause!
Don’t forget the food drop at Equality Methodist Church is December 30.
I pray all have a happy Christmas and New Year.