Left alone, you are weird

Our society celebrates the lone wolf. We have a unique ability to pin the success or failure of a group effort on an individual.

  • Drew Brees led his team to a win.
  • All Stephen Spielberg films are brilliant.
  • Thomas Edison invented thousands of things.
  • Barak Obama is the most powerful leader in the world.
  • Bill Hybels leads Willow Creek Community Church.
  • Katy Perry is an amazing performer.

In all of those cases we celebrate an individual who has become the figurehead of a much larger effort.

Deep in each of those statements is a cultural lie. As we idolize those individuals and aspire to become them we look past the reality that none of them is a lone wolf, but we see that in order to get to those positions of “respect” we need to act alone.

Video games and smart phones

The posture of the individual

We’ve grown up celebrating the first person perspective. When Duke Nukem came on the market in the mid-1990s it revolutionized the video game experience because you, the player, became Rambo. Instead of looking at a strategy game from a 3rd person perspective they put you in the 3D world of first person.

Thousands of hours of acting as the lone wolf behind first-person shooters sends a powerful psychological lie to your brain, retraining it to believe that you can best control your destiny alone.

If there’s anything disturbing about today’s smart phone craze, it’s the new posture we take in public settings. While it was once considered anti-social behavior to seek isolation in a crowd, we are now a crowd of isolated humans staring at our phones. The flickering pixels in our pockets are more alluring than the real world around us.

These devices aren’t just statements of convenience or entertainment, they reflect a great cultural reference to the first-person perspective.

A call from individualism to communion

We don’t celebrate individualism, we celebrate communion

As a Christian I know that individualism is the enemy of communion.

Communion is a powerful technology that changes everything.

While our culture celebrates and romantacizes the lone wolf, Jesus calls us into something greater. It’s reflected back to the Garden of Eden. God looked at his creation and one by one said, “It’s good.” But when he looked at the man, who was alone, he said “It’s not good for man to be alone.” So he made woman. We are so hardwired to think about the sex part of that statement or even the idea that God made a helper (completer) for Adam that we miss the first part… it’s not good for man to be alone.

Satan wants you alone. He wants to convince you that you are better off acting as a lone wolf. He whispers in your ear– “You don’t need them. You want to change the world, do it your way.

Satan’s technology is getting you alone where you are vulnerable. God’s technology is communion, where you are never alone.

Jesus’ life calls you and I into communion. We don’t merely take communion as a representation of our 1-1 relationship with God. We take communion as a representation of our 1 billion – 1 relationship with God. We actually don’t take communion… we ingest it as a rejection of Satan’s technology of the lone wolf and exchange it for God’s technology of communion.

When we stand, in communion, with a billion other believers we are an unbelievable force for change. We have the power to make a busted world right.

That’s why we share communion in community. You simply can’t do communion alone, it’s impossible.

Jesus isn’t calling you or I to merely take communion in remembrance of what He did. He is calling you and I to live communion together.





6 responses to “Left alone, you are weird”

  1. Jeff Goins Avatar

    I loved Duke Nukem. All those lovely pixels. That was the point of this article… wasn’t it? 😉

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      well yeah, duh! you know how hard it was to wrap 650 words around that one proper noun! took hours.

      1. Jeff Goins Avatar


  2. Patrick M Leahy Avatar

    Great insight Adam. It’s ironic that phones, a thing that should enable more efficient communication, can do the exact opposite.

  3. Ben Patterson Avatar

    Thanks for this post, Adam. I think we need to keep talking about this and sharing the message with parents, students, and others around us.

    A simple rule I have put on myself is “no texting and walking at the same time.” This has helped incredibly with conversation engagement at work.

  4. Michael Halbrook Avatar

    I’m pretty sure it was Wolfenstein 3d not Duke Nukem that started teh whole FPS thing, It’s the first FPS I remember, I remember Duke Nuke’Em as a side scroller first. 

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