"A healthy community is built on friendship, on people who are committed to the art of caring engagement, an art that only the gospel makes possible in its riches form. It is built on shepherding, on people committed to the art of mentoring or passing along hope. Shepherds are simply older friends whose experience allows them to give hope that whatever is happening can be well survived." Larry Crabb, Connecting: A Radical New Vision"The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are." - C.S. Lewis
There are different levels of connection. I often reflect upon how I'm engaging people in my life. I constantly sense a lot of selfishness behind why and how I connect or don't connect with people. I often find my own pursuits more exciting or interesting than pursuing relationships with others because meaningful connection and "caring engagement" takes time. It means bearing the burdens of others with grace, which means more time praying. It means being willing to be wrong even when you think your right, which means giving up of oneself.
Paul described level of connection with the Philippian church as being "poured out as a drink offering" for their sake (2:17). He did it with joy.
That's where I find the desire to connect with others: joy. Paul writes that his joy will be complete by "being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind" (2:2). How do we come to be of the same mind? In part, giving up of self and engaging one another in deeper way than merely going to the same church or rooting for the same sports teams.
I often struggle in social situations because I don't really care so much about where people work but why they want to work where to do. I want to the passions that inspire people to get up everyday. Or maybe what lack of passion that keeps them in bed. But who talks about that kinda stuff?
I have a hard time finding any satisfaction in surface level contact that avoids all points that might create disruption--like politics and theology. Or maybe I just like to argue. Maybe that's why I don't connect sometimes: I'm always right and people can't handle that. ; )