If you become a pilgrim, you cannot live in isolation from others; you cannot ‘purposefully separate from others on the journey.’ As part of personal transformation, you become a member of community.

Radical autonomy, subjectively driven lives, and consumer choice lead in a predictable direction: toward cultural fragmentation.

My sermon last Sunday was about the otherliness of the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable. In the sermon we examined the mandate we have from Jesus to look out for the needs of others. I like what Diana Butler Bass says in this regard. “You cannot live in isolation from others…”

Truly, to be a disciple of Jesus means being connected to the people around us. It means giving them attention and putting their needs above our own. This is difficult to do because everything in our culture is dedicated to “radical autonomy” and living unaware of the people we rub elbows with.

I think that such unselfish attention is extraordinary in this world, and it also gives people who care about others an extraordinary advantage. But you have to be willing to put others first.