Part of God’s Family
One-sided relationships are more prevalent than ever before. And studies reveal that they potentially offer health benefits.
Consumers can listen to, follow, and/or watch their favorite artists with a literal click of a button, making parasocial relationships (PSR) easy to forge. The most common form is entertainment-social PSR, in which fans consume enough material of their artists to learn about them and be able to discuss those artists with other fans. This can create a sense of community, especially when community builds up around inclusive artists who normalize mental illness, decreasing the stigmas and prejudice traditionally associated with those disorders.
In fact, many in these communities claim to have found their “family” as said groups offer the encouragement and support not always readily available in members’ immediate circles.
As fan-based communities offer their members what is missing from their lives, faith communities act in much the same way. They can be safe spaces where believers of different backgrounds come together with a common belief in God, and by studying the Scriptures, praying, praising the Lord, and spending time together (and by following the guidelines of Deuteronomy 10:12-13), these individuals become united as a body of believers.
And even better than in PSR, the attention is not just one-sided. Christ – as head of this body – equally loves, cherishes, and values each member.
Earthly families were designed with a purpose, and PSR-inspired communities fill in the gaps when our relatives let us down. But God’s family is the true family we’ve always needed, and the only family we will ever need.
Connecting: What are the similarities between fan and faith communities?
Sharing: God is your number one fan. Is this form of PSR creepy?
- God and I have a mutual relationship, so it’s not creepy.
- It is kind of creepy to think that I’m being watched 24/7 … even by God …
- Why would it be creepy? I already post about everything I do!
- It’s only creepy if God exhibits obsessive human tendencies!
- I like to think of the Trinity laughing over my silliness and cheering me on.
Applying: With a partner, share the blessings and gifts you have received as a child of God and sibling in Christ, and then brainstorm how to welcome in a new member of the faith family.
~ Stefani Leeper