The Decomposition of Community (Part 1)

Growing up my house was known as the party house. If there was a some big get together with friends it was a good bet that everyone would be heading to the Myers house. Hosting and arranging get togethers was something my mom grew in my siblings and I at an early age, and to this day we all love being the source of social events.I still enjoy hosting or arranging get togethers, but there has been a change in the last few years.

No one comes.

I haven’t changed the way I host or invite people, but when I am used to being able to get together six people very easily, I find myself scratching the bottom of the barrel to find one or two.

As I have thought over what has caused this shift there are a few things that I think have changed the culture we now live as apposed to how we grew up that have caused what I am calling the ‘Decomposition of Community.

This blog post is the first in a series I have written about those things.

Let your yes be yes

Our ability to be able to keep ‘connected’ with everyone has created a lack of commitment to the things we say yes to.

We now have the ability to cancel plans with someone at the drop of a hat. Where before we would have to call someone to cancel or had to follow thru because there was no way to tell them we changed our minds, we now are able to send a quick text; ‘can’t make it… Sorry😕’.

In one sense this seems convenient. Things happen, it’s life. At least you can let your friend know now that your toilet exploded and you can’t meet them for Starbucks anymore. Unfortunately, I don’t think we usually use this improved ease of communication to tell our friends we have to cancel for legitimate reasons.

Instead, we send a text hoping they won’t ask why we can’t come, because we had a long day and we don’t want to go out again. We wouldn’t call them, because we know it’s a bad excuse and they would call us on it over the phone.

We send a text because it’s quick, because it’s impersonal, because we don’t always love the time we spend with that person, and because we can’t be bothered to call someone who we made a commitment to.

If this challenges you, let me just say that I do it too. I’ve been that guy. I’ve cancelled plans for the simple reason that I didn’t want to in that moment. It’s so easy to justify it saying ‘they will understand’ or ‘we will get together another time’. If I am honest I know I probably wouldn’t cancel those meet ups if I had to call them, but it is so easy to just send a quick text and not deal with hearing their disappointment on the other end, no matter how little they may give it away.

I’ve also, at least if I were to guess, been on the other end of it. There have been times that I was looking forward to meeting with a friend only to have them cancel, perhaps repeatedly for some vague ‘I had something come up’ or ‘I need to rest’ or ‘work went long’. It’s not fun. And there a few times I would have been willing to put some money on their excuse being fake.

So here is my challenge. Next time you think about canceling with someone, call them. If you can’t call them then you probably don’t have a good enough reason to cancel. When we start giving excuses like these things we are not taking Jesus words seriously to ‘let your yes be yes and your no be no’. Be a person of your word. If you commit to something follow thru.


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