Are you the trusting type, or are you at a point where you find it difficult to trust, and therefore to rely, on others? If it’s the later, apparently you are in good company. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, our sense that we are able to rely on each other is in decline.
Some of this is chalked up to, of course, the still hanging around pandemic and the shift of so many of our relationships, work wise and otherwise, to virtual spaces. In short, the drastic scaling back of personal interactions has damaged our ability to trust one another.
[The decline of trust] is vaguely felt before it’s plainly seen. As companies have gone virtual during the coronavirus pandemic, supervisors wonder whether their remote workers are in fact working. New colleagues arrive and leave without ever having met. Direct reports ask if they could have that casual understanding put down in writing. No one knows whether the boss’s cryptic closing remark was ironic or hostile.
An article at the website Mockingbird extends this trust deficit to the world beyond the workplace, noting that during the pandemic one of the things that suffered the most were the so-called “weak ties,” the casual interactions that happen in the checkout line, at the lunch counter, at coffee hour in our churches. These interactions remind us that we are part of something more than just ourselves, and that our casual acquaintances or even complete strangers are just as important as we are.
What does any of this have to do with the sorts of questions we normally talk about here at PubTheo? Well, the article at Mockingbird makes an important point: Christian faith is built entirely on trust:
Take the bodily resurrection of Christ, for instance. Some may attempt to unearth the chronicled artifacts of the risen Christ in order to help prove his historicity, but the Easter narrative resists the historian’s quest for unadulterated certainty. Those who insist on seeing things for themselves find themselves in a blind alley. “Is the trustworthiness of the first witnesses sufficient? Can we really stake our lives based on what others have told us?” they ask. The Apostle Paul claims precisely that, reassuring the Corinthians that the risen Jesus appeared to hundreds of witnesses, many of whom were still alive. Not only was his own account of encountering Jesus worthy of trust, but so were the accounts of those who Paul himself had trusted. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that the good news on which he stood was solid ground. The Corinthians could question his validity all they like, but the miracle of belief eventually all comes down to a surrender of certainty.
We’re going to talk about matters of trust in our conversation this evening. There are all kinds of indicators that as a society we’ve strayed farther and farther from trust in our fellows. We install cameras in our doorbells, “nanny cam” video surveillance in our homes, tracking apps on our teens’ cellphones. We lock the doors to our homes. We lock the doors of our churches. So how do we regain trust? Is an unwillingness to trust connected to fears of our own vulnerability? Must we be willing to make ourselves vulnerable in order to trust?
Join us for the discussion beginning at 7pm this evening at 313 Pizza Bar in downtown Lake Orion.