Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Salvation is not a solo act

Change is easier with a support group. Maybe it's a cheering section. Maybe it's someone to whom you are accountable. Or maybe it's a community that loves you and wants you to live to your fullest potential. In fact, I might ask, is it possible to truly change on your own?

I know that I can't. I need accountability. I need love and support. I wouldn't mind a few cheers, now and then — a few "atta boys". Because salvation is not a solo act.*

So who are my supports? They are many, and varied.

My family grounds me. They are always there. Families are complex, and we each have needs from each other and we each give to each other. I know that I cannot live alone, as much as I might wish it at times.

My church community is increasingly important. It is amazing to me now that I lived for so long without such a spiritual connection. Sunday services provide a community of fellow seekers. My mens' circle has reached an amazing level of intimacy, where I can expose my fears and hopes and find unconditional support in return.

In other mutual support groups, I find that I get so much back when I share of my own fear and experience, strength and hope, ups and downs. By exposing ourselves, we create a circle of trust wherein others can give equally of themselves. In giving, we receive so much more.

I have always found that accountability to another person is a huge part of successful change. When I was in grad school, a group of us signed up for an aerobics class. Because we were all going, we all went. When I tried to do the same on my own, after moving to Michigan, I failed. I needed the accountability to the group. That is why I am now recording my steps on There, I have a community who (might) notice if I slack. Even if nobody calls me on it, I feel the accountability, and I keep up my effort.

My thanks to PattiMST3K, whose post on community inspired me to finish this essay.

* Recently, the Rev. Dr. Tandeka preached a sermon titled "Celebrating our Connections: The Only Way the World Can Be Saved". A catch phrase from the sermon was "Salvation is not a solo act." It hit me in the heart.


Anonymous said...

Awesome. You are totally right!

How the heck did I not know that you had a blog? You are now bookmarked and I will be checking daily :)

Spencer said...

Uh, oh. Now I've got to post more regularly! :-)

I've been out of town, at my father-in-law's funeral. I'll probably have something to write about that, once I process it.

Cashlin said...

Thanks for writing this.