One stereotype of college faculty is that of a solitary introvert, socially awkward, and so on. While for many, research is collaborative, we do tend to spend an awful lot of our time at work by ourselves, and even when in a group setting, it is often lecturing before a class or leading a group meeting—in short, a time where we are still set apart from the majority of people in the room. Whether we like it this way or not, there are some dangers of which we should be aware and actively circumvent.
From the beginning, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) The author of Hebrew continues that theme, reminding us as believers, “We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”
God is obviously very concerned that we attend to our social nature. He made us to be interdependent. Even though some may have less of this tendency than others, it is still there. When we spend too much time alone, we tend to withdraw into ourselves, lose some of our ability to interact well with others, lose perspective on issues in our lives and even lose compassion and the ability to love in a healthy way. There is evidence of a higher rate of mental illness among folks who spend large amounts of time alone. It is a dynamic relationship, and one situation can encourage the other but it seems that being with other people helps keep us sane. (I know—there are LOTS of jokes that can be made here about people driving you insane, but roll with me.)
God is just as concerned about the health of the corporate church as He is the individual believer, and indeed seems to talk about salvation and spiritual maturity in a corporate sense even more than on an individual basis. When we keep to ourselves, it is easier for the adversary to isolate us further and pull us away from a vibrant faith walk, and we also have less opportunity to exercise our gifts and talents for the benefit of others, which also hinders our growth.
These factors are particularly true for us as faculty because of the antipathetic to downright hostile environment in which we tend to work. Scripture says that we gather to encourage each other, literally to “fill with courage.” Who couldn’t use more of that?
Get together with other believers on campus. It’s not just a good idea, it’s darn near a command.