Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wired for Community

I am listening to the most fascinating book on my iPod right now. It's called Blink, and it is by Malcolm Gladwell. You could check it out here on Amazon. The book explores that thing that we do when we "thin slice" input and come to decisions that we would call "going with our gut."

One of the studies Gladwell mentions is about autism. Studying the brain through focused magnetic resonance imaging shows that we use a very sophisticated part of our brain when we are recognizing faces, as compared to a much less sophisticated part of the brain which engages when we are recognizing object. This is why we remember the faces of our friends many years later, but will spend half an hour searching for our luggage at the baggage claim.

Later, I was reading an article in a magazine. Did you know there is actually a special hormone that gets released when we are around people that gives us the "warm fuzzy" about being with our friends? This same hormone turns down the hunger message. It's almost like when we are hungry, part of that hunger is not for food but for family. Think about that feeling you get when you spend time around the table with your friends or your family. That feeling is hardwired to your physiology. Cool, huh?

All of this should not be the least bit surprising to a Christian. God created humans to be in fellowship - with Him and with each other. We are meant to live our lives in community - we are wired for it, specifically.

The next time you feel yourself becoming isolated, make an effort to connect with someone. It's what our Creator intended.

He wired us for community.


  1. Interesting way of putting it -- "wired for community". Great point. I'm in the middle of exploring this idea with a group of people here in the DC area. Some of the questions we're asking:
    1)What if a fragile world is more attracted to God's vision of interdependence and sacrificial sharing than to the mirage of independence and materialism?
    2)What does it mean to live incarnationally?

    In discussion on community, I think it is worthwhile to take a look at what many these days are dubbing "new monasticism". Terms and buzz words aside, I think there's simply an undercurrent of people who are recognizing that perhaps truly living out the gospel looks drastically different than what our Christian subculture portrays (and commuity is a significant component in this discussion).

  2. this is amazing! i belong to a survey panel that gives me interesting rewards choices, and a couple times ago i chose the book blink because the title seemed cool and unusual. since it arrived i've been too involved in real life even to open it, but you've caught my interest and i plan to being reading it soon. thanks; be blessed!