By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines:
“Surgeon General Says There’s a Loneliness Epidemic” (Washington Post).
“Young People Report More Loneliness Than the Elderly” (USA Today).
“The Biggest Threat Facing Middle-Aged Men Isn’t Smoking or Obesity. It’s Loneliness” (Boston Globe).
“The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health” (NY Times).
“Loneliness Begets More Loneliness” (The Atlantic).
“How Social Isolation is Killing Us” (NY Times).
“Social Isolation Kills More People Than Obesity” (Slate).
Americans are lonelier than ever—even though opportunities for social connection have exponentially increased. Even with affordable phone calls and free email, we are talking to one another less. Despite high prevalence of car ownership and the low cost of cross-country air travel, we are spending less time with our families.
After decades of bowling leagues, Americans began bowling alone. Today, in the age of social media, we’re not even bowling.
We are scrolling alone.
How did social isolation become such a disturbing trend? To what extent are our churches and congregants feeling loneliness? And how can the church respond to the loneliness epidemic?