Monday, July 09, 2007

The Search to Belong II

Chapter Two: The Longing to Belong
In my continued reading of Joseph Meyer's book "The Search to Belong," I am finding some interesting concepts. Some of this thinking is off the beaten path and goes against some of the conventional small group thinking found in the church world. The first chapter talked about operating in four spaces: the public, the social, the personal, and the intimate. These are helpful categories to help us understand that we have a number of different ways to relate to people - and that is actually very healthy.
In Chapter Two he asks: "What does it mean to belong?" and gives the following description: It happens when you identify with another entity – even without the other party’s knowledge or sharing of the experience. He then tells the story about a childhood classmate who came to consider Joe (the author) as his best friend. That experience has happened to most of us, where someone we don't consider close, considers us their best friend or most significant influence.
He asks “How did this happen without my knowledge?” This friend did not need Joe’s permission to belong to Joe in a significant way. There are those (sometimes people who have never visited the church) who truly feel they belong to our congregations who have not asked permission to do so (not according to our rules but by their rules).
In the discontinuity and fragmentation of society, people crave connections and will go beyond normal social propriety to find it. As Christians we must find language to help people see, hear and feel welcome.
The value of this little chapter was the story he told of his childhood friend - it normalized the experience that I have often had where people have chosen to belong to me even though I had never felt that I belonged to them. I think this is often true in the helping fields (church, social work, counselling, etc.).

1 comment:

(kirstyn) said...

how do I figure out how many people are reading my blog. you said that Im getting more people than you.. how do you know?... is there a number I can see somewhere or are you just guessing ...
anyways you dont have to publish this comment.. its just a question