9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their
10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity
the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
There are many great needs in our culture today. People need shelter, food, clothing, medical attention, medical insurance to pay for their medical attention, peace, hope, love and the list goes on and on. More and more I am discovering that one of the greatest needs in our present society is that of Friendship. Recent statistics regarding loneliness show that in 1950 only 10% of American households had just one person; by the mid-1990s that number has risen to almost 25%. Loneliness has even been shown to have a negative affect on a person’s health. Lonely people are four times more likely to develop heart disease and overall death rates rise considerably, as much as ten times, for those who live alone compared to people of the same age who live with friends or family. But I think it’s the soul that probably suffers the most. God did not create us to be alone. We are created in His image, and therefore created to live and move and breathe in community with others. God created a unique need inside everyone for friendship. Are you freely giving friendship to others? Is this a church known for offering friendship to those in the community?
We find ourselves in a culture that defines our relationships by our purchases. As the philosopher Baudrillard explains, ‘Consumption is a system of meaning.’ We assign value to ourselves and others based on the goods we purchase. One’s identity is now constructed by the clothes you wear, the vehicle you drive, the music on your iPod. In short, you are what you consume….No longer merely an economic system, consumerism has become the American worldview-the framework through which we interpret everything else, including God, the gospel, and church.
(Leadership Journal, Summer 2006, page 29.)