People need a sense of belonging

By Dave Henning / December 16, 2017

“People need a sense of belonging.  We have an innate desire to be part of something larger than ourselves.  When we are connected to life and each other, we thrive.  When we are disconnected, we die.”- John Ortberg

In Chapter 8 (“Something There Is That Doesn’t Love a Wall: Intimacy and Barriers”) of I’d Like You More . . . , John Ortberg notes that the Garden of Eden reflected intimate life.  Living in Eden, Adam and Eve:

  • walked with God during the cool of the day (intimate fellowship with God)
  • felt no shame about their nakedness (intimate love for each other)
  • studied and named the animals (intimate connection with creation)
  • tended the garden (intimate engagement with their work)

However, Pastor Ortberg states, the Fall resulted in the loss of Eden as well as the loss of intimacy.  And, the author quips, ever since then we’ve been getting in our own way.

As a result, we live in a world of walls, such as the Great Wall of China and the former Berlin Wall.  Yet, the human heart presents the hardest wall to scale.  dividing walls of hostility remain.  Unity is elusive, because our ego:

  1. blinds us to walls
  2. whispers that we’ve entitled to a life of privilege
  3. keeps us inside the walls of our tribe, our comfort zone

In contrast, when walls come down, intimacy goes up.  But, the technology that promises to help us potentially makes people more disconnected than ever.

Intimacy, though, involves shared experience and requires presence.  Presence, in turn, requires that we sustain and focus our attention.  Plus, we must maintain eye contact.

Finally, MIT researcher Sherry Turkle identifies three “gratifying fantasies” offered through technology.  Thus, technology can’t fill:

  • our ability to put our attention wherever we want it to be
  • our desire to always be heard
  • the promise that we’ll never have to be alone

Today’s question: What promises in God’s Word sustain a real sense of belonging?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “An infinite capacity to connect”

About the author

Dave Henning

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