The basic building blocks of intimacy

By Dave Henning / November 24, 2017

“The basic building blocks of intimacy — whether with God or with other people — are the shared experiences that build meaningful connections.”- John Ortberg

In Chapter 1 (“Are You With Me?”) of I’d Like You More . . . , Pastor John Ortberg makes an important observation about intimacy.  Somehow, many people in our culture equate intimacy with sex.  However, as John points out, although there’s a connection between the two, intimacy and sex aren’t interchangeable.  Furthermore, one doesn’t necessarily depend on the other.  Also, intimacy applies to our relationships with kids, parents, friends, co-workers- even God.

Rather, Dallas Willard once defined intimacy as shared experience.  We carry a deep need to do this.  Hence, when we share our experiences with others, in essence we share our life with them.  And that includes active listening.  That sharing, in turn, builds connections- another key component of intimacy.  Thus, we possess the potential to build intimacy every time we connect with someone in a shared experience.  This definition provides the core of your journey in this book.

Most noteworthy, Pastor Ortberg explains the true nature of intimacy:

“Intimacy isn’t built on grand, elaborate gestures.  It doesn’t have to be something deep or dramatic — an elaborate, romantic getaway, a dramatic self-disclosure, or sentimental words.  Rather, it’s made up of a thousand tiny, everyday moments of interaction (emphasis John’s).”

In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg observes, no such thing as one-way, self-generated intimacy exists.  Also, simply occupying the same space at the same time fails to automatically produce intimacy.  By definition, intimacy must be mutual.  You build intimacy through many single shared encounters.  John adds that, for the most part, intimacy grows when one invites another to share the ordinary moments of everyday life.  Sometimes extraordinary moments happen.  In turn, the other person not only accepts, but reciprocates, the invitation.

Today’s question: What basic building blocks of intimacy sustain you following your vocation loss?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the annotated bibliography of Unseen

Tomorrow’s blog: “Time and presence – the stuff of shared experience”

About the author

Dave Henning

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