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At a recent small groups conference at Saddleback Church Randy Frazee spoke on the "call to community." He reported the average American family manages 35 separate relationships on a day-to-day basis--children, extended family, neighbors, government, school, friends, work, Starbucks employees, landlords, telemarketers, etc. And this is before that family gets invited to church, which usually adds another six or more connections. He refers to this phenomenon as "crowded loneliness." We are in desperate need of meaningful relationships, yet too busy and too pulled to maintain them. Even worse, our attempts to relieve our sense of isolation often contribute to our fragmentation. We might join a small group, for example. We'll get in contact with 3 to 11 other dedicated Christians and commit to meet and study the Bible every week. Now those 3 to 11 people become another chunk of relationships that we have to manage. Relationships that carry a cost in time, energy, emotion...even dollars. In other words, our attempts to forge meaningful relationships often add up to being "just another thing to do." (Out of Ur 2/27/07)

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