May 16, 2011

You're Not Alone

Note:  I posted this last Thursday, but for some reason it disappeared from the blog, so I'm reposting it again today.

Last week, a strange thing happened here at

First, I published a post on Monday.  Usually, new posts only appear here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  However, the fact that I published on a Monday is not the strangest thing to have occured.

Second, I mentioned my post on facebook and twitter, letting people know that I had posted my reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden.  This, also, is not particulary strange.  It wasn't the first time I had promoted my blog this way.

Third, more people viewed that particular post than anything else that has ever appeared here.  As blogs go, this one is a tiny drop in a vast sea of blogs, but still, it was exciting (and a little scary) to discover that so many people were motivated to read what I had written.

However, even that was not the strangest thing to occur here last week.

The strangest thing was the comments I received in response to that post.  I received some comments here on the blog, and quite a few more on the link to the blog that I posted via facebook.  Comments also came via telephone from relatives who read the blog, and they came through face-to-face conversations with people in my church and community who saw what I had written.  Every person who shared their thoughts with me said that they were grateful for what I'd written.  They were grateful, because they had those same thoughts themselves, but thought that they were the only ones.

Imagine that:  a whole crowd of people, all thinking alike, but each member of the crowd believing that he or she was the only one.

Last Friday I visited my neighborhood public library and checked out a book by Tina Rosenberg called Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World.  I'm currently about halfway through, but so far I've read about how much better black and Latino students do at Calculus when they study in a group and realize that they're not the only ones who want to excel in math.  I've read about how a sign at Petrified Forest National Park asking visitors to not take fossils only encouraged people to do so, because it showed an image of a group of people taking fossils - apparently no one wanted to be the "only one" who didn't go home with a souvenir - and when the sign was changed to only show one person taking a fossil, the thefts declined dramatically.  I've read about how social pressure causes teenagers to smoke and how it increases the spread of AIDS, and how social pressure can (and has been) used to reduce teen smoking and the spread of AIDS.

Apparently, it's human nature to want to be part of the group and to do what the group is doing or at least what the group approves of.  When we think we're the only one, we either hide, or change our behavior so that we more easily fit in.

So, to all those who believe that the words "killed" and "celebrate" do not belong together, I tell you:  you're not alone.  To those who believe that God's love extends even to our worst enemies, I say:  you're not alone.  To those who long for a more peaceful, compassionate Christianity, I say:  you're not alone.  To those who believe there is a greater deptgh to our faith than the soundbites that appear in the media, I say:  you're not alone.

Churches like mine are small, perhaps because we think that we are alone in wanting a deeper, more peaceful and compassionate spirituality than what we see in the world.... and because we feel that we are alone, we keep quiet.  However, there are many others who long for that same genuine faith.

Perhaps our message to the world should be:  "You're not alone."

1 comment:

NHISHand said...

This is an awesome post! I just preached a sermon in refence to not being discouraged because you seem to feel like the only one who will do anything for the LORD! Many times the person sitting or standing right next to you feel the same way! It is not until they see you praise GOD with everything you have that they feel that, "Me Too!" relief! It's always good to know that their are others under the same influence of GOD's grace and mercy! Peer pressure is great . . . when your peers are GOD Loving People!