Why are We doing Common Enemy Intimacy

How we are dealing with isolation, fear and differences
2 Min Read

I was out walking with a colleague the other day. Very quickly the conversation turned to the global rumble with vaccinations.

My colleague shared of a conversation they had during the week with a staff member who was not wishing to have the vaccine at this time. They shared how they still wish to do more investigation.

As this staff member continued on, my colleague listened.

All of a sudden they stopped talking, looked and stared in shock at my colleague. Silence filling the space for a few brief awkward moments.

My colleague nodded their head and inquired, “Yes?’ Stunned, hesitant and curiously the staff member replied, “You are the first person from any of the people in my life, including my family, who has not gotten upset and started to argue and shout at me.”

They went on, “I need more time. I also want the right to freedom over my own life and health. I do want to be responsible and I do care about others. You are the first person to have simply listened and shown respect to me, though I know you have chosen vaccination.”

“Many of my friends and family hate me. It seems we can’t have respectful conversations anymore? Conversations where individuals hold differing view points. It just seems hate has taken over.”

As I look at what is happening globally right now, we are up to our eyeballs in what is called, “Common Enemy Intimacy”.

Common Enemy Intimacy is based on who we all hate together.

It is shared ‘intimacy’ around an individual or group who is targeted with blame and hate for the discomfort and tension as we navigate this unprecedented world of change.

Common Enemy Intimacy is a quick way to hotwire connection by agreeing on who we hate together.

We see it outworking in the school yards, on social media and sadly even in faith communities. You may have been side swiped by this. People posting hate comments, tagging, contributing to a conversation to hot-wire connection, and for a moment, a brief moment, the loneliness stops.

James Baldwin said, “Now I understand why people hold onto their hate so stubbornly, because once they let it go there’s nothing but pain.” 

Pain will make itself known. It will not fade. We are the most medicated, addicted, obese and in debt in human history. 

Leading Sociologists see the great challenge for us over the next 10 years will be around pain. Dr Brene Brown says,  “THERE IS NO WAY THROUGH THE NEXT DECADE WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING PAIN.”

What do we do with pain? How do we release our pain and discomfort? Unfortunately at the moment common enemy intimacy is one of the ways. 

It is the result of a culture that has become disconnected and isolated, a culture that has lost its identity

In the culture of common enemy intimacy shaming becomes a tool for dealing with fear, awkwardness and differences. When we shame someone, it is an attempt to prevent a person or group from behaving in a way that embarrasses us. Shame is a controlling device.

How do we deal with differences? The gospels are full of Jesus who listened. Listened to so many varying points of view and alot of them political. He modeled for us an essential truth about listening; it requires more curiosity than certainty and more safety than solution.

Shakespeare said “The rarest form of love is listening.” In a world choosing hate, fear and disconnect, the great question sits with us, “Are we willing to learn how to really connect and love others more than our opinions and ‘rights’?” 

Love defeats hate, not opinions. Being loved heals pain, not being right. Love is the only basis for true intimacy and connection. What has always been more important to God than anything else is have we learned to love?

 

FREEDOM PRAYER:

I reject the spirit of hate sent against me by my enemy the Devil. Every trace of this lie leave me now in Jesus name.

I am deeply loved. Completely accepted and cherished. I am worth dying for.

I receive the spirit of love and chose to let God love me again. I am the apple of my Father’s eye. Nothing can separate me from His love. Nothing. I am one with Him. He will never leave me.

I trust in His love.

Abba, fill my heart, fill my life with your love, overflow from my life and nourish the world around me with your love.

Holy Spirit teach me to trust again. Teach me to trust deeper in the power of Jesus’ love, than in the spirit of fear. 

In Jesus name.

 

Reference:

Brown, B 2012, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead, Penguin Random House, New York

How to Live the Power of Vulnerability is our Industry Awarded Top 10% internationally short course. It is about choosing safe connection rather than safe distance in our relationships, leadership, communities, families and faith communities. 

With people admitting “We love the idea of navigating how to live/thrive/do community in this new world, but to be honest we’ve become very comfortable in our isolation. It’s a challenge to get back into community and give of ourselves.” 

Loneliness now at epidemic levels in the Western world. Courage to connect is one of our greatest social needs.

For connection to happen, we must be vulnerable. This doesn’t mean we have to wear our heart on our sleeve. Vulnerability without boundaries is fear and anxiety. So what then is vulnerability and how do we do connection?