I am reading Robert Wuthnow’s Sharing the Journey: Support Groups and America’s New Quest for Community. It relates to my general interest in small groups and has been a very interesting read so far. I just came across this quote that I wanted to share:
They understand what these feelings are like. They have experienced them too. They don’t tell him he shouldn’t have them, or even try to make them go away. They just share the journey, whether it is one of triumph or of trial. This solidarity, more than anything else, was the reason Frank became involved. (168)
What kind of small group would you guess this was?
It is interesting that the most powerful story of “sharing the journey” that Wuthnow has shared so far has been the story of someone who is actively involved in AA. In some ways this isn’t surprising because AA has had a wonderful impact on so many people’s lives.
But this made me wonder why the church doesn’t do a better job of just walking with people through their lives. I wonder if many people don’t need the church to try to fix them, but they need to be loved and supported as they journey through life. It strikes me that it is our job to walk with people and do the best that we can to simply point to Jesus along the way. And wouldn’t this be freeing? We don’t have to fix everything, we don’t have to solve every problem. The man in the story above, at least, just needed someone to share his journey with.
Where have you felt safe to share the journey of your life? What do you think the church could do in order to more effectively become a place where people can find support, solidarity, love, and companionship?
My perspective is that Alcoholics Anonymous is a “loving force” in which we “support and guide” each other on the road to recovery with the help of a higher power. This is so stiking different from the angry Chrisitian god ready to put you in a burning hell and damn you forever for your addiction. I am so grateful to have found AA where I don’t have to worry about the warped politics and power of money in the Episcopal Church. I am eternally grateful for AA!
Kevin Watson said:
Henry – Thank you so much for sharing your experience with AA. I am sorry to hear about your negative experience with the Episcopal Church. I think Christians have a lot to learn from AA. Many Christians struggle with addictions of many different kinds, and it saddens me that we have sometimes done such a poor job of communicating God’s love and grace to people in their deepest moments of need. You mention an angry god ready to put you in a burning hell and damn you forever for your addiction. I have no doubt that this is often communicated by Christians, and I regret it. My understanding of the God revealed in Jesus is that his heart breaks when he sees our pain, and because his heart breaks he has chosen to enter into it with us, seeking to heal us and free us from the addictions that keep us from the life that God intends for us.
I can’t thank you enough for your comment. I would love to hear more about your thoughts or reactions to my comment. And I hope to see you around here more!