WASHINGTON (CNS) — Harvard public policy professor Robert D. Putnam has a tongue-in-cheek suggestion for pastors: “Spend less time on the sermons, and more time arranging the church suppers.”
That’s because research by Putnam and Chaeyoon Lim, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that the more church friends a person has, the happier he or she is.
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Robert Putnam’s work, and particularly his classic work, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, have been particularly helpful in shaping what John and I have come to call Slow Church, and especially in shedding light on the brokenness of individualistic Western Culture and why we need Slow Church at all.
What do you think? Are Putnam and associates on the right track in their findings about intra-congregational friendships? About their intuitions involving church suppers? Does your church have practices of sharing meals together? If so, what formative effects have those practices had?