Why Are We So Isolated?

(That title will make even more sense if you listen to the song, link at bottom.)

In the fall of 1981 I was in my first apartment with my first room mates. One afternoon I went down to the record store and purchased an album from a band I hadn’t heard of. Why? I don’t remember but that’s what we did back then we were feeling independent and rich.

The album I purchased was Rockin’ Revival by Servant. I proceeded to play it on our record player in the living room for 4 hours straight. The album only contains 8 songs. I played it over and over and over. The lyrics grabbed me. I moved the needle again (what we had to do back then) and listened to it again. Until my room mates finally said to stop and verbally said, “What is wrong with you?” They already thought I was too passionate about my faith.

I moved the needle back again, found the headphones that had a cord to the stereo, and listened for a couple more hours.

This album impacted me. But it was vinyl, the band was not well known, and so I lost it when I converted to cassette and CD. Recently while in a prayer time I remembered something from this album and wondered if I could find it on this deep dive thing we call the internet. Sure enough, in one search I found the whole album on YouTube.

Oh the wonders.

I knew every lyric still. Lately I’ve been waking up singing the songs.

One of the songs that “broke” me back then broke me again. It’s called “Isolated.” Here are the lyrics:

I’ve got a secret/Nobody knows about it/My wife and I are fighting/We’re almost separated/And there’s nothing I can do to stop it

So I sat there/Silent in the Bible study/I could not communicate/There was no way I could relate/And I was too afraid to tell anybody

Somebody tell me/I really want to know/Somebody tell me/Why are we so/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated

I called up the church/And they put me on hold/The secretary said/The Pastor’s out to lunch/But I could catch him after 18 holes

So much later/After a toke or two/I was feeling a little bit better/A thought occurred to me/If I just see you once a week/Then why do we need each other

Somebody tell me/I really want to know/Somebody tell me/Why are we so/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated

Come next Sunday we’ll all get together again/I’ll have a lonely six days and I’ll be all messed up by then/Come next Sunday we’ll all get together and then/(Spoken) We’ll sing about the power, share for an hour, shake hands/And we’re on our own again

I really need some money/And it’s isn’t a joke/But I’m afraid/You wouldn’t even speak to me/If you knew that I was broke

I got the finance company/And they take good care of me/But it’s such a shame/Why can’t we be a family/Like He wants us to be/Stop playing this silly game.

Somebody tell me/I really want to know/Somebody tell me/Why are we so/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated/So Isolated, so isolated, isolated, isolated

This song broke me in 1981 about how the Church was failing to really help people. Because these feelings from these lyrics are true. Now 43 years later, this is still a problem for the Church. Or maybe its worse because we have the wonder of the internet to reveal this problem for the Church. The isolation we do feel while attending church or that Bible study is confirmed when we read from others on the internet. We have so many friends and family opting out of church. We have real church hurt from real betrayal.

If I just see you once a week
Then why do we need each other

Maybe we’ve always have had this isolation problem.

Come next Sunday we’ll all get together again
I’ll have a lonely six days and I’ll be all messed up by then
Come next Sunday we’ll all get together and then
We’ll sing about the power, share for an hour, shake hands
And we’re on our own again

So why go to church at all?

For those of us who go, it is a brave decision. We are at risk for betrayal. We are at risk of being misunderstood and judged by fellow readers of the same Bible we read. Bravery always involves vulnerability and risk.

But when you find a church full of good people, this brave decision is a lot easier. You have found your gift of people which helps you manage that marriage problem and debt problem and the problem that overwhelms you right now.

You find joy because joy always involves relationships. We need faces because joy involves faces. We need faces for our brains to read joy to help us through the big emotions that lead us to want to isolate. (Read the science of this.)

(I write a lot about our need for people because you can’t live this brave life without people.)

Make the brave decision to try church. Isolation is not good for you.

These lyrics broke me back then before I began working at churches because I wanted to be part of the solution. Then I was called to be a pastor and work for churches. I believe this album had a lot to do with that and how I’ve led ever since.

If you are curious about this music, here’s the song “Isolated.”

Here’s the whole album.

“Suburban Josephine” also broke me. This could be one of the reasons that led me to make many of my brave decisions. When hearing this song again all these decades later I still felt the fear of regrets from Suburban Josephine. My story is not her story because I’ve made many brave decisions. Listen to that song and imagine being 18-years old and deciding on some brave decisions?  

The last song on the album may really be my Bravester theme. Let’s sing this together!

Thanks for reminiscing with me and this foundational moment that I’m just now realizing shaped me deeply.

Read the book

A small book about being the people that hurting people need.

“This is the book that I wish I had had for people in my life that have suffered and needed me to be that compassionate friend. This is the book that I wish others in my life had read before they dismissed my pain, or compared it to theirs, or stumbled horribly through trying to lessen my pain because it was actually really about THEM not feeling comfortable with it.”

Order here: https://bravester.com/new-book-from-bravester/