Belonging… is it a ‘phase?’

This week I am going to blog everyday … ( Wed to Wed) and see how it goes for our on-line community.

We’ve been chatting about ‘belonging’ and how it relates to our status as Christians… (this all started when we explored the story of Jesus’ baptism).

In 2000, Robert Putnam published a book titled Bowling Alone.  His premise, based on a lot of sociological research, was that Americans were becoming increasingly disconnected from each other dues to shifts in family, work and societal structures and mechanics.  At the time that his book came out, I was a  mother of three young children and full time graduate student up to my ears in PTAs, swim clubs, parents’ groups, the Christian Education Committee at my church, a liasion to the Board of Ed for the Elementary School,  part of a worship team at Div School, in a group for Group Spiritual Direction… I was up to my ears in groups and well- practiced at the Art of Belonging.  I couldn’t grasp what Putnam was saying.

I think  in our culture ( or at least my white, middle-class suburban world… ) that Belonging is, partly, a Stage of Life.

We see it in the Church.  Young parents join church when they have an infant to baptize, they hang in there- often as vital and enthusiastic leaders- through their children’s Confirmation… and then, some begin to drift away as their children, too, move away from the Church.  

At Rhythms of Grace, we have not yet experiened much ‘drift.’  We are too young.  Our founding member- 7 years old when we began- is now 14… but he seems to be going strong.  He and his dad find something valuable about their particiaption in our program.

How do all of you see the concept of  ‘belonging?’  What kind of commitments have you made to particualr groups?  Why some… and not others?  Are you bowling alone… or on our team?

This I do  know- no matter where we are.. how often we show up… or which church’s door we darken… we always belong to God.  Not in a suffocating, controlling way… but in the gentlest, most loving, protective embrace.  For that, I am grateful.

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