I agree with prolific blogger Rachel Held Evans that the best insight for the year comes from blogger Heather Kopp, writer of the outstanding Sober Mercies — how love caught up with a Christian drunk.
Kopp’s insight: People bond more deeply over shared brokenness than they do over shared belief.
Kopp explains her thoughts like this…
- When folks gather around a system of shared beliefs, the price of acceptance in the group is usually agreement, which means the greatest value—stated or not—is being right. Unfortunately, this often creates an atmosphere of fear and performance, which in turn invites conformity.
- But when people gather around a shared need for healing, the price of acceptance in the group is usually vulnerability, which means the greatest value—stated or not—is being real. This tends to foster an atmosphere of safety and participation, which in turn invites community.
I’m not saying recovery or support groups are good and church groups are bad. But I do think the latter could learn something from the former about how to create safe places where intimate community can happen.
Authentic relationships take courage and risk. In our soul we may crave them, but Kopp is right when she asserts: “…our ego fears them.”
May God give us the courage in the coming year to invite more people into our heart space where we often feel the most broken and in need of being handled with great compassion and tenderness.