Radically Lonely

By Michael vom Ende, President faktor c

Recently, one could read who the main writers of hate letters were, especially to Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder (CSU): mostly single men over 50. Depending on the perspective, the process of loneliness and its consequences is triggered or exacerbated by the fact that personal networking, and thus real communication including a variety of opinions are diminishing, because the degree of communal interaction decreases almost everywhere: in associations, churches, political parties, and trade unions, as well as private relationships in individual households. Another type of isolation is caused by the home office, forced by the Covid-19 pandemic.


“Radically lonely”. Journalist Nils Minkmar wrote in July 2021: “When everyday life was still communicatively influenced by the extended family, company, neighbourhood, church and/or trade unions, many historical irregularities would have been cleared up before lunch. Today, on the other hand, many people piece together their private ideologies like former model makers in the hobby cellar building complex wooden ships.” Often there is no one who says: No! According to this journalist, large organisations also served to balance positions, and practiced the high art of compromise. It seems such organisations have become rare.


“Completely lonely” or “Radicalised Loneliness”

“Radically lonely”. This can mean both, that you are “completely lonely” and that you are also “radicalised lonely”. Already in early Christian times there were the so-called “desert fathers” or “hermits”. These were Christians who deliberately went into loneliness and silence to seek God in an ascetic life. From such people texts have emerged that have survived the centuries. This was the beginning of monasticism.


Lonely, but not alone

The Bible provides impressive examples of those seeking temporary loneliness. These people were completely lonely, but not alone. Moses, the primary leader of the people of Israel, just like Jesus, sought conversation with God in the desert, in silence and loneliness. They were hermits, but not eccentric. They received answers to their deepest questions, they received the encouragement of divine accompaniment in challenging ways, they found orientation for themselves and many other people. They prepared themselves for communal life in “radical loneliness”. In his 1939 book “Life Together”, Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer drew up two complementary theses on the interaction of loneliness and community in the chapter “The Day Alone”:

  • Beware of community if you cannot be alone.
  • If you are not in community, beware of being alone.


Lonely or together

In our society the destructive tendency towards “radicalised loneliness”, reinforced by the pandemic of these past two years is indeed evident. People who belong to Christ and fellowship with other Christians can provide orientation to society and the economy, because as Christians they tend not to radicalise, they live in a corrective fellowship and encourage communion with Jesus Christ. Exceptions confirm the rule. “For God is faithful, through whom you are called to communion of his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (1. Cor. 1:9). Based on this type of community, they can in turn build communities in daily life and promote sustainable economies which are competitive, corrective and encourage multiplicity.

If you feel lonely or isolated as a business leader, entrepreneurs or (young) professionals, join Factor-C in Germany or Europartners  with their local ministries for the rest of Europe. If you would like to find God in loneliness and silence join one of our retreats and contact Faktor-C for Germany and Europartners for other nations or an international setting.

Copyright 2022. This blog is written by Michael vom Ende, president of faktor c, Germany. faktor c is an initiative of Christians in business.

Business people meet each other, support each other, are inspired and find orientation – so that life can succeed in the challenges of the economy.