A picture of what we hope our groups will be
Heather Knopp is a longtime Christian author and speaker, married to a longtime Christian author and speaker, living in Colorado Springs, home to the headquarters of multiple Christian ministries, and so brimming with Christians. She is also an alcoholic who hid her addiction for many years. In her book Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up to a Sober Drunk she writes about her experience once she came clean and entered recovery.
"The particular brand of love and loyalty that seemed to flow so easily here [in recovery meetings] wasn’t like anything I’d ever experienced, inside or outside of church. But how could this be? How could a bunch of addicts and alcoholics manage to succeed at creating the kind of intimate fellowship so many of my Christian groups had tried to achieve and failed? Many months would pass before I understood that people bond more deeply over shared brokenness than they do over shared beliefs."
Heather noticed that her readers connected with and commented most on the above passage. On her blog, she reflected:
"When folks gather around a system of shared beliefs, the price of acceptance in the group is usually agreement, which means the greatest value - stated or not - is bring right. Unfortunately, this often creates an atmosphere of fear and performance, which in turn invites conformity.
But when people gather around a shared need for healing, the price of acceptance in the group is usually vulnerability, which means the greatest value - stated or not - is being real. This tends to foster a sense of safety and participation, which in turn invites community."
[http://heatherkopp.com/2014/04/17/the-promise-of-shared-brokenness/ italics hers]