Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone is about the decline of community in our culture. Bill Bishop’s The Big Sort is about the division of communities into little clusters of like-minded people, what Robert Bellah calls “special interest enclaves.” No wonder we listen to Garrison Keillor’s stories of Lake Woebegone with a kind of longing. We miss human community and it isn’t just nostalgia. Human community is an incarnate expression of the unity and diversity of God, of Reality itself, represented theologically by the Trinity. To fracture into a society of scattered individuals is to lose touch with our authentic human nature, the nature of God, and the imago dei.
So for me prayer these days is about connection. It’s about caring for the well being of my “poor earthbound companions and fellow mortals.” It’s nothing to write home about. But my longing for human bonds of affection is laced with hope.