Summary: small group series #3

Finding Faith Filled Friends

#3 of the Core values of Christian community

Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ

October 20, 2002

Sophie and Shirley, two elderly widows in a Florida adult community, are curious about the latest arrival in their building -- a quiet, nice looking gentleman who keeps to himself.

Shirley says, "Sophie, you know I’m shy. Why don’t you go over to him at the pool and find out a little about him. He looks so lonely."

Sophie agrees, and later that day at the pool, she walks up to him and says, "Excuse me, mister. I hope I’m not prying, but my friend and I were wondering why you looked so lonely."

"Of course I’m lonely, he says, "I’ve spent the past 20 years in prison."

"You’re kidding! What for?"

"For killing my third wife. I strangled her."

"What happened to your second wife?"

"I shot her."

"And, if I may ask, your first wife?"

"We had a fight and she fell off a bridge."

"Oh my," says Sophie. Then turning to her friend on the other side of the pool, she yells,

"you’re never going to believe this, Shirley. He’s single."

Have you ever been so hungry for a friend that you made a poor decision? Believe it or not, like it or not our need for friends is one of our most urgent needs. Sometimes the need overwhelms us so much that we are willing to do anything to feel loved. From going home with a stranger to striking up conversations with telemarketers. We live in an increasingly isolating society and we are willing to do almost anything to not feel lonely.

Some people get pets, some people try to drown the deafening silence with business and significance or working more hours.

But all we really wanted was the friend that knows us. Sometimes we’re so lonely that we call complete strangers who just act like they know us and make money from acting like a friend.

A lonely frog telephoned the Psychic Hotline and asked what his future holds.

His Personal Psychic Advisor tells him:

"You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you."

The frog is thrilled, "This is great!

"Will I meet her at a party?" he croaks.

"No," says the psychic, "in biology class."

Sometimes it appears that we will do anything to feel accepted. As Americans we are among the loneliest people in the world. As a culture we are radically much different than we were a generation ago or even a decade ago. Atm machines allow us to do our banking without talking to anyone. In fact most banks have the option of convenience with online Internet banking. Incredibly convenient but there is a loss of personal touch.

Walk into almost any large store and they provide you with the option of self check out system. Or gas up at the station by paying at the pump.

Over the past few decades we have become more isolationist as a society. Sure things have gotten more convenient but many Americans say that it has also gotten lonelier. We have microwaves and satellite dishes. We can nuke a meal and order a movie off the dish. In fact this disease of isolationism is so rampant in our society that when someone even speaks to you it sometimes feels odd.

I was really looking forward to labor day because I had had a very busy week and I was going to sit back and relax. I was not even going to get out of my pajamas well, most of you parents know that’s the day your kid gets sick. So Morgan was sick and the only place that was open was the urgent care in Clare. So Tammie and I took Morgan over to see a doctor. We walked in and sat down. The typical stuff everybody was hiding behind a magazine. But then one lady started talking to us. And it really caught me off guard. Because nobody talks anymore. You just don’t do it, that’s why they have those little books to read.

This sickness of isolation has invaded our culture to the extent that it is now weird to have a conversation with a stranger. When did we get that way? When did we get more comfortable in chat rooms than out on the sidewalk? When did we get so impressed with the television that we forgot to take time with others.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a tech nut. I love technology. But sometimes we forget that we live in a world full of people. And every one of those people matter to God.

We need to remember that there are real breathing people out there. There is a growing disconnect between technology and people. While e-mail allows us to say things we might never say in person it’s because we sometimes get detached emotionally. We claim that community takes place in chat rooms but fellowship my friends happens in the flesh. It happens when we actually make human contact.

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