The Fellowship of the Mat

Two Men in the FogJohn Ortberg, in his book “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them,” writes that true Christian community requires time, acceptance and a willingness to be transparent and open about our own faults and shortcomings. You can read an excerpt from this great book “The Fellowship of the Mat” at

For myself, and for many men, developing intimate friendships doesn’t come naturally. John Ortberg shows why this is especially difficult in today’s society:

People rarely drift into deep community One of the most countercultural statements in Scripture is a description of the early church. In speaking of the people’s oneness of heart and mind, the writer notes, “They met together daily.” They worshiped together, ate together, prayed together—on a daily basis. No wonder they grew so close.

We try to create 1st-century community on a 21st-century timetable—and it doesn’t work. Maybe the biggest single barrier to deep connectedness for most of us is simply the pace of our lives. How often do you hear (or say) things like, “We’ve got to get together soon” or “Let’s do lunch in a few weeks when things settle down”?

The requirement for true intimacy is unhurried time. If you think you can fit deep community into the cracks of an overloaded schedule—think again. Wise people do not try to microwave friendship, parenting, or marriage. You can’t do community in a hurry.

You can’t listen in a hurry. You can’t mourn or rejoice in a hurry.

Many people lack great friends for the simple reason that they have never made pursuing community a high priority you can’t carry somebody’s mat in a hurry. And everyone comes with a mat.

What is this mat he’s talking about? Please read the full chapter.

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