All Four Horsemen, all four wives, and our 11 kids all in the same house at the same time Saturday for the first time in at least five years. Kevin’s GPS got them there a little late. (Didn’t realize you could get to North Richland Hills from Rowlett without getting on a highway.) But it was a wonderful day of just catching up with one another, sharing our plans and our dreams, lots of laughing, and lots of mutual encouragement and support. We cooked together, we ate together, we talked about our kids, and we cried a little.

But the absolute best part was the last 30-minutes of the evening we spent together in prayer. All the adults and all the kids, holding hands and putting our arms around each other, lifting one another up to our Lord. Pledging before our God to love each other and support each other. Giving him praise and thanksgiving for blessing our lives with these powerful relationships. Realizing we would not be where we are today if not for his grace and these friends.

And then the conversations we had with our three girls later that night and again on Sunday. They all know what good friends we are with these three other families. They know how much we love each other. But we’ve elevated that conversation now. Now we’re talking about why we love these families, why we take care of each other, why we cry when we pray together, how we depend on each other, how we’re getting to heaven together and cannot get there by ourselves. What a memorable lesson for our kids, to see their parents so involved in the lives of other people because of what God has done for us through Christ. How important for them to see, up close, that their parents rely on other Christians for strength and support. How impactful to see that our God works through his people to sustain his people. We don’t do this alone.

We live in an increasingly individualistic society that fights against God’s plan for his people to live their faith in community. God places us—calls us—to live together in a faith community, his Church, so we can help each other and support each other and grow and get better together. To get to heaven together. But we’re so busy plugging speakers and phones in our ears and gluing our eyes to the millions of screens at work and at home and even now in our cars that we don’t even see the people around us.

There can be three people sitting right next to each other on an airplane, all three sharing armrests, but watching three different entertainment programs on three different screens. They can sit like that together for three hours and never even look each other in the eye. We’re arranged in cubicles in our workplaces. This is my space. We fence off our yards. Speaking of MySpace, we have more meaningful conversations—if you can call those conversations—over a screen with people we’ve never met than with our own family. We watch screens while we’re in line at Wal-Mart and then check ourselves out with a debit card while being greeted and thanked and wished a nice day by a computerized voice from a tiny speaker. Even now in our cars we’ve got our children watching movies instead of interacting with each other. I can’t get anybody to make eye contact with me during an invitation following a sermon because they’re all glued to the song on the screen. Even if we’re singing “Jesus Loves Me” they don’t take their eyes off the screens.

I had lunch yesterday with one of our wonderful Legacy teenagers. And we talked about relationships and community. He brought it up, not me. He’s worried about it. He notices that we come in, go through the paces, grunt our “hello” and “how’s it going?” and then disappear until the following Sunday. We’re so individualistic.

Robert N. Bellah, a pretty well-known American sociologist describes our values today as “utilitarian individualism.” He says:

We are mostly driven by the need for personal success and vivid personal feelings. Marriage becomes an instrument for personal development, work becomes a vehicle for personal advancement, and the church a means for personal fulfillment. We simply live as if nobody else were here.

We need each other. Whether we admit it or not, whether we’ve ever thought about it or not, whether we ever realize it or not, we need each other. We’ll never get to heaven alone. We’ll never grow in our faith or be transformed into the image of Christ alone. We’ll never confess our sins, we’ll never make sacrifices, we’ll never serve or practice patience alone. We live our faith with each other in community.


KK&C Top 20 Logo 

November 18, 2008

The college football season keeps getting weirder. The Big 12 has five teams in the top 12 while the SEC only has three. And now the SEC is filing civil charges against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Strange.

This week’s “KK&C Top 20″ shows very little change from last week’s poll. Again, only 12 of our 20 pollsters checked in. And they split their #1 votes: four for Texas Tech, four for Alabama, and four for Florida. The Red Raiders are number one overall for the second straight week, finishing a mere nine votes ahead of the Tide. The only shifting in the top seven is Florida leap-frogging Texas from #4 to #3. Apparently the Gators’ 56-6 win over South Carolina was more impressive than the Horns’ 35-7 win at Kansas.

Charlie J makes his return as a pollster after a three-week absence to mourn over his Aggies. Fellow Aggie Jerry K hates casting his top vote for “Texas-I-Hate-Myself-Tech.” Die-hard Texas fan Mark H is openly rooting for the Sooners this week. And Steve F says the national championship game will decide once and for all the debate over superiority between the SEC and the Big 12. Steve also gives us this helpful nugget in explaining the intricacies of the BCS system: “If Tech gets by OU, and OU gets beat by Oklahoma State, and Missouri beats Texas (unless the Longhorns get beat by the Aggies—again) in the Big 12 Championship Game, and Alabama loses to either Auburn or Florida, and USC wins out, the Trojans will play for the National Championship.”

Thanks, Steve. Now I don’t want to watch any of it.

UNC and Florida State fell out of the poll. Cincy and Oregon State are both back in. You can see the entire poll, all the panelists’ comments, and complete pollster profiles by clicking here or by clicking on the green “KK&C Top 20” tab at the top of this page. Enjoy.