So I recently read David Brooks’ The Social Animal. One of the things he talks about is how morals are shaped. We often think of our morality as arising out of solitary reflection and analysis. But according to a wealth of sociological data, our behavior and values are shaped mostly by our friendships and the people we associate with the most. So that with every conversation and interaction, we are unconsciously picking up standards of behavior, values and norms. In other words, we are who we hang out with the most.
This deeply resonates with how the Bible instructs Christians to live. “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) In truth, no one lives apart from the company of others. The only question is which community do we choose to belong to.
Photo: a scene from IGC's 2014 Summer retreat.