Alone

Is there anything in life, any moment, any anything, that there is not a line from Princess Bride that fits the occasion perfectly? 😀

A comment on my blog this morning got me thinking about an assumption I’ve had for, well, my whole life. In regards to Genesis, when God says “It is not good for man to be alone” the prevailing teaching seems to be that men need to get married. The verse is quoted in just about every Christian wedding I’ve ever been to. I suppose it was quoted in mine but I can’t recall. But, if we take into account all of Scripture, is this really what it means?

In the New Testament, Paul is plain on marriage…don’t. Yep, Paul actually says you don’t need to be married. But, if that’s true, then either he’s a heretic, or we’ve been teaching Genesis wrong.

When I look at Scripture I see a few huge things. The first is Christ, of course. He is in everything throughout the Bible. Every little story points to Christ, to our hope. The next thing I see is that God has huge groups of people all lumped together, living for Him. His first group of people was the Israelites. This huge group came from what started small, but, obviously, didn’t start alone. The second group is the Church. These, as well, started small but not alone.

It is interesting that being alone is usually associated with negative situations in Scripture. I think of Jeremiah, and other prophets, who despaired because they were either physically alone or spiritually alone (thinking there was no one left who loved God but them). These are all viewed in Scripture as bad things.

God made us for community. We were created for community. Hermits were popular in the middle ages, but they are not Scriptural. Even John the Baptist, the one whom several hermits used as an example, actually wasn’t always alone, he had his disciples as Christ did.

It is popular to admonish that there are no “lone ranger” Christians, but it is more than a single person reaching out for community. There is another end of it, and that is the community reaching out for the single person (not single as in not married, but as individual). And reaching out is more than just shaking a person’s hand on Sunday morning and patting them on the back when we bump into them at the store.

As I examine my own past, and all the pain that has caused me to cut myself off from others, I wonder what it is in other people’s lives that, even in the church, we circle the wagons, so to speak? What is it that makes us want to only be around people with whom we are comfortable? What is it that keeps us from reaching out? What is it that makes us, in our actions, deny the truth of God’s command for community?

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