In the United States, there is much talk of a new kind of crisis — a crisis of epic proportions that has tragic health implications. Much more covert than a war or a financial crisis, it has been referred to as the “loneliness epidemic.” The loneliness epidemic began years before the COVID-19 pandemic, although the pandemic has helped bring loneliness to the forefront of national dialogue.
With a growing awareness of loneliness and its effect on society, studies have been conducted by scientific, sociological, governmental, and statistical groups. Non-religious and non-Christian sources have proposed reasonable solutions to loneliness. These solutions stumble upon the same realities that the Christian church has advocated for since its inception: loneliness is best treated within the context of a community with shared values, a community of people who are willing and able to give their time and talents to support one another, sacrifice for one another, and serve one another. The body of Christ, the Christian church, offers a reasonable solution to this crisis, providing important things that are needed to meet the needs of the lonely.
From feeling a disconnect in personal relationships, lack of social connection, feelings of being undervalued or devalued by the broader community, and/or the existential feeling that life lacks purpose, loneliness can have different root causes. And loneliness, though a mental and social feeling, has a direct impact on physical health.
The crisis of loneliness is rooted in the fact that American culture itself is in crisis. There is much to be said on this point — too much for an article of this length — however, there is one main undergirding cause of loneliness that is prevalent in our culture worth noting, and that is the change in the conception of the individual. If loneliness is rooted within the self and is a subjective feeling determined by individuals, then the concept of what it means to be an individual is imperative in this discussion.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with JOURNAL author Lisa Cooper about her online article, ” The Loneliness Crisis In America And How The Church Can Help”.
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