Everybody Needs Somebody
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell tells the strange story of Christopher Langan, a genius with a staggering IQ of 195. Mr. Langan was raised in poverty, one of four sons, each with a different father. One brother spent time in a foster home; another brother was sent to reform school. The Langan home was chaotic and constantly on the move.
During high school, Langan could ace any foreign language test by simply skimming the textbook a few minutes before the exam. He got a perfect score on his SAT, even though at one point he fell asleep. He was offered college scholarships. But Chris Langan failed to use his exceptional gifts and today works on a horse farm in rural Missouri. He maintains an appetite for reading and learning, but is somewhat content with his life, working for others on the farm.
According to Gladwell, Chris Langan never had a community to help him capitalize on his gifts. He did not have a network of family or friends to encourage him to utilize his intelligence and knowledge. No one spent the necessary time to help Langan develop practical intelligence–the set of skills we need to learn in order to know how to relate to people or how to handle a specific situation. Chris Langan had the analytical intelligence and ability measured by IQ, but lacked a community that could help him function effectively in the day-to-day routine of life.
Gladwell summarizes the story of Langan in one sentence: “[Langan] had to make his way alone, and no one–not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses–ever makes it alone.”
God created us for relationship, never intending for us to navigate life alone. The church is a place where vital personal connections can be made. The church is a community of faith where we encourage and challenge one another, where we find strength to help meet life’s obstacles, where we are reminded that we aren’t in this journey alone, where we can draw on the spiritual wisdom and life experience of others on the journey. The church was, and is, God’s idea, because He knows how much we really do need each other. The church is where we learn that everybody needs somebody.