“The togetherness of the Christian community grows from a deep sense of being called together to make God’s compassion visible in the concreteness of everyday living.”—Henri J.N. Nouwen

The second creation account in Genesis contains one of the most profound comments on the human condition contained in the Bible: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’” (Genesis 2:18).

In response to this loneliness, the author of Genesis describes God creating animals and birds, but no suitable helper could be found as a partner. Genesis then describes the creation of woman, ostensibly solving the loneliness before it could really get started.

Whatever you may think about the COVID epidemic, it is hard to argue that our distancing from each other, and from institutions that support us, has not had a terrible effect on a good number of us.

For years, we have praised (or maybe cursed) the interconnectedness that technological innovation has brought to us through social media, on-demand news, and ubiquitous sources for information-gathering. As we’re finding out, though, this “connectedness” was really veneer covering a deepening sense of isolation and loneliness.

Earlier this spring, the Surgeon General of the United States released a thought-provoking and disconcerting report stating that loneliness, experienced by half of American adults, is a major health issue.

More than simply feeling bad or left out, true loneliness is when we feel that we, alone, shoulder all the burdens of life, or even a sense of despair that if we disappeared tomorrow no one would notice.

This depth of emotional despair has deep physical ramifications: a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. From the report: “The mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and even greater than that associated with obesity and physical inactivity.”

As Baptists, we have spent our more than four hundred years of denominational affiliation extoling the virtues of being independent, free, local churches who do not report to a bishop or other church structure.

This core tenet of Baptist life is surely worthy of praise, but like all good things, must be viewed and used in moderation. While praising our independence, Baptists have also been very clear that we should partner, or cooperate, together for common ministry goals, knowing that we cannot do the entirety of the Gospel work before us alone.

This issue of Visions highlights a few of our ministry partners and their work. Truth be told, the staff of CBFGA, alone, cannot do all the work needed to fully support and resource our partner churches. So, we have connected with trusted and good organizations to work together for our common good.

Catholic priest and author Henri J.N. Nouwen wrote, “The togetherness of the Christian community grows from a deep sense of being called together to make God’s compassion visible in the concreteness of everyday living.”

We are grateful to partner with churches, individuals, and organizations to make God’s compassion visible in communities around Georgia and beyond.

Thank you for letting us cooperate together in fellowship.

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