For Good Reason
So why do we need small group
ministries? Why can't we do this work by ourselves?
Because it takes a village to sustain a soul. I use an
extreme example to make this small point. The story is
recounted by psychoanalyst R. D. Laing during his work
with a catatonic schizophrenic patient.
Each day, as Laing made his
rounds, he would sit next to the immobile man and say
something like: "If my mother had locked me in a closet
for all of those years, I wouldn't want to talk to
Day in and day out, Laing made
such statements to the man and then would move on to his
And then the day came. Laing
sat next to the man, told him he would not want to speak
to anyone either, if he had been treated the way this
man had been treated by his mother. And the man turned
to him and said, "Yeah."
The man had heard another
person say to him "You are sad and for good reason."
This man had been left alone for so long that his
feelings and thoughts had been gutted of content. He had
become an abstraction of time, an experience without
thoughts, feelings, or an inner life because no one was
there with him; no one was there who cared.
In covenant groups, members say
to each other, "I am lonely and for good reason," and
the group is there with them and says, "Yeah."
Someone says, "I feel sad and
for good reason." And the group is there with them and
Someone else says, "I need more
love, more compassionate engagement, more attentive
care--and for good reason." And the group says, "Yeah."
So if someone tells you that
she or he knows pain, loneliness, loss, fear, and
dismay, but does not know the feeling of being sustained
by a love that is wider, deeper, and infinitely vaster
than the sorrows, hear those words as a commission.
Hear your commission to love,
to create community, and to heal. One at a time in
personal relationships, ten at a time in covenant
groups, hundreds at a time in our congregations,
hundreds of thousands at a time in our religious
movement, millions at a time as we take our commission
deeper and deeper into humanity's heart as a
justice-loving people who will transform the world.
This is the Good News of our
faith. The power that sustains our faith turns our small
group ministries into spiritual practices that can heal
and transform the world.