"Yet in contemporary America we often find Christian friendship difficult to understand, live, and even desire because our our dominant picture of ourselves as rugged, isolated individuals. Modern Western cultures have tended to emphasize, and at times even glorify, the individual. Individuals, so we are implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) told, need to resist collectives, those impersonal structures that seek conformity, impose rigidity, and stifle creativity and freedom of expression. This notion of the individual, especially as it is defined over against conformity, is descriptively false and normatively dangerous.
It is descriptively false because none of us becomes a person by separating our individual identities out from others. We might engage in such attempts as a part of adolescence, struggling to discern who we are apart from our parents and other social influences we outgrow at this stage. But maturity as adults calls us to discover the reality of our internconnectedness with others. This adolescent individualism, if left unchecked even as we grow older, is dangerous, because we deny the other people around us who provide challenge and support. Even more importanly, we fail to recognize that we can overcome our tendencies toward self-deception and other forms of sin through deep and loving engagements with God and others.
We can find such engagements, but only if we renounce the individualistic picture for onje that is more truthful to God and to the realities of our own lives. The God whom Christians worship is not a solitary God, far removed from the world in which we live. Rather, we worship the Triune God, who is characterized by self-giving love. Further, God loves those whom God has created. God will communion with creation and creates human beings in the divine image and likeness. We are created for loving communion with God, with one another, and with the whole creation. Hence, we can fulfill our destiny as human beings only when we fulfill our God-given capacity for loving communion....God in Christ 'capacitates' us for the friendship for which we were created and by the Holy Spirit draws us into new relationships to sustain us and lead us to discover the life that is really life."