Monday, January 21, 2013

Me!

3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. — Romans 12:3–5 (NASB95)
According to new research, over the past 50 years Americans have increasingly emphasized "me" over "we"—or individualism over community. That's based on a heavy-duty analysis of words and phrases that have appeared in American books published in the past 50 years. Researchers used Google Books to scan 750,000 books, comparing the frequency of "me" words and phrases (such as "all about me," "I am the greatest," "I love me," "my needs," etc.) with "we" words (such as "community goals," "we are one," "work as a team," "common good," etc.). Researchers concluded that the results showed an increasing focus on the solitary self. Psychologist Jean Twenge added, "These trends reflect a sea change in American culture toward more individualism." – Preachingtoday.com
We’ve suspected it was true for a long time, and now research validates the suspicion. People are getting more and more self-focused. The idea of community, team, and other group oriented terms mean less and are therefore practiced less. We’re a nation of self-possessed, self-concerned people.

If you don’t think that impacts the church, you’re not paying attention. “What can I get out of church?” is one of the top questions that shapes a person’s involvement. “What’s in it for me?” “Is this something I like?” “Does this meet my needs?” A thousand such questions must be answered. Otherwise, people just don’t want to go through the bother of participation.

Of course we hear rumors that loneliness and feelings of detachment, even abandonment are also on the rise, and that’s not surprising. After all, if nobody wants to go out of their way to connect with others, somebody is probably going to feel left out.

It’s sad that we must continually address this issue. It’s actually not very new. The apostle Paul understood the problem. That’s why he said we shouldn’t think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Church is a community. It can’t operate if it’s made up of loners. Commit now to rejecting selfishness and self-centeredness. Connect with others. Find your place in the community called “church.” Serve others, and you’ll be served.