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Summary: Do you BELONG? Are you CONNECTED to anything that transcends yourself? One of the most striking paradoxes of our current culture today… is the crisis of connection.

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Do you BELONG? Are you CONNECTED to anything that transcends yourself?

One of the most striking paradoxes of our current culture today… is the crisis of

connection.

• Never has our world experienced the level of connection that has become possible in

just the last 10 years. It’s become the world of globalization… unlimited potential

connection… What has emerged is the ability to be connected to anyone on the

planet at any time ….

> Yet never have people felt so disconnected….so alienated…so alone.

Sociologists and psychologists are describing the deep and dark crisis of alienation that is

plaguing modern life.

Not just an issue of lacking popularity or social success…

Winona Ryder Finds Fame Lonely

"When I was 18, I was driving around at two in the morning, completely crying

and alone and scared. I drove by this magazine stand that had this Rolling Stone

that I was on the cover of, and it said, ’Winona Ryder: The Luckiest Girl in the

World.’ And there I was feeling more alone than I ever had."

Citation: Winona Ryder, cited from Plugged In, Vol. 6, no. 4 (April 2001); submitted by Van Morris, Mount

Washington, Kentucky

Sheryl Crow - “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. That’s the only true fear I have.”

Citation: Interview magazine (10-01-98); submitted by Mike Herman, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

In a Rolling Stone interview, Trent Reznor, the lead musician of the rock band Nine

Inch Nails, muses on how his anti-religion stance helped lead him into his lapse into

depression:

“In my head, that spilled over into an utter-chaos outlook: ‘I don’t need

anything, I don’t need anyone, and I don’t need to believe there’s any

reason to anything.’ It was a pretty self-centered approach. I was lonely

and had a bleak outlook on everything. I think people have an inherent

need for belonging…”.

Citation: Anthony Bozza, "The Fragile World of Trent Reznor," Rolling Stone (10-14-99), p. 140;

Inherent need… something that reflects our essence… the issue of belonging is ultimately a

spiritual one… a transcendent one.

2

There is a very simple premise to this journey…

The search for connection… is a search for the common.

• The very root of the word “community” is “common.”

Here lies the challenge –

The loss of some transcendent connection gives rise to a tendency to find identity through

distinctions that prove destructive.

From niche marketing and clothing styles… to social cliques and gangs… to ethnic

rivalries and nationalism… we are so hungry to find ourselves…to belong … that our identify

is often simply reduced to that of identifying with some sub-group over and against others. And

those connections prove not only destructive… but dissatisfying…. far too fragile to really

provide the deep connection we long for.

The desperate alternative is to try and simply diminish our differences… forge some idea of

common identity… communism… new tendencies of ‘tolerance’ and spiritual relativism.

Our Need – to discover the common in the midst of the unique… not a bland conformity… but

unity amidst diversity.

> Differences don’t divide when they are centered and secured in the


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