An article from the Washington Post claims that "social isolation is growing." A study conducted by leading university sociologists says that American's are getting lonlier.
"Americans go on 60 percent fewer picnics today and families eat dinner together 40 percent less often compared with 1965, he said. They are less likely to meet at clubs or go bowling in groups. Putnam has estimated that every 10-minute increase in commutes makes it 10 percent less likely that people will establish and maintain close social ties"
I wonder how many of these isolated and lonely people exist around me. I wonder, on any given Sunday, how many of these people are sittiing in the pews of my church and other United Methodist Churches around the United States. I remember Jenny Jackson-Adam's sermon from this year at the SGA Annual Conference. She was preaching on Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus in the tree. Zacchaeus was lonely and in pain–in order to see Jesus, he climbed up in a tree. No one saw him but Jesus. Rev. Jackson-Adams called us to look around us and see how many people around us were hiding in trees and call them out of there. How many lonely, isolated people are "hiding in trees" around you?
Isolation and the Internet:
"But University of Toronto sociologist Barry Wellman questioned whether the study's focus on intimate ties means that social ties in general are fraying. He said people's overall ties are actually growing, compared with previous decades, thanks in part to the Internet. Wellman has calculated that the average person today has about 250 ties with friends and relatives."
The internet is an amazing tool for connectivity. How can we use it? How can we also keep it from being substitute to real human connection?