“In large measure, what’s causing this crisis of American childhood is a lack of connectedness. We mean two kinds of connectedness — close connections to other people, and deep connections to moral and spiritual meaning.” from Hardwired to Connect (A Report to the Nation from the Commission on Children at Risk, co-sponsored by YMCA of the USA, Dartmouth Medical School, and Institute for American Values)
We are created to be cross shaped, to have vertical connection with God and horizontal connection with other people. “We are hardwired for other people and for moral meaning and openness to the transcendent,” the report’s Executive Summary explains, “Meeting these basic needs for connection is essential to health and to human flourishing.” Once again scientific research verifies our design. Jesus told us two thousand years ago that all of life was about loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:36-40).
The report recommends 18 ways to help the next generation make those two crucial connections, all of which center on “renewing and building authoritative communities.” What they describe as an authoritative community is almost what I would call a cruciform community, a group of relationships which provide the context for children and teenagers to connect with God and people of all generations.
I’m beginning a series of articles on “The Cruciform Life” in a web-based magazine called Worldview Church published by http://www.breakpoint.org/. Go to the site and sign up for the bi-monthly magazine. The introductory article should be out in the next few weeks. Let’s think together about how we are created to be cruciform.