Jack Eason is an influential author who writes about difficult topics: financial strategies, his strong faith, and most recently, the loneliness epidemic in today's world.
He serves non-profit organizations and ministries across the United States and the world teaching the principles of finance, leading, and ministry. He's a pastor at Cross Roads Baptist Church in Upstate South Carolina. He serves through the Crossover Cups Mission, a non-profit organization that, according to their Facebook page, serves "the needs of Dominican and Haitian people throughout the country of the Dominican Republic." Jack also works with high schools and colleges where he speaks to students about overcoming loneliness and embracing the concept of togetherness.
We spoke to him about the foundation of his newest book, The Loneliness Solution: Finding Meaningful Connection in a Disconnected World. He explained a little more about Crossover Cups Mission, as well as connectivity and friendship issues he sees in our culture today. Lastly, he gave us insight into what he sees in the future of our community and culture.
Your new book comes out at a time of high isolation throughout the world as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. When did you write the book and has the content become even more relevant in 2020?
You would have thought I wrote the book during the pandemic, but, actually, I turned in the manuscript in January 2020. I had no idea we would be in the midst of a pandemic. Loneliness was an epidemic before COVID-19, but for sure, much more of an issue now.
Loneliness is an epidemic in our society. How will your book help with this problem?
I think my book addresses some of the real hurdles to overcoming loneliness. The first step is actually recognizing that a lot of the ways we think we are connected are really void of real meaningful relationships. In the book, I share some of my personal struggles, things I have learned, and the solution I have found to loneliness.
Your desire is to help people stay connected. How has this been a growing part of your ministry?
I think as you get older you begin to realize the real value of true friends. When you're younger, you mistakenly think because you have 4,000 Facebook friends, that you have real friends. The reality is there are only about a dozen of my Facebook friends I could call at midnight if I had a real emergency. Knowing that real friendship is what helps us grow has been the catalyst for getting the word out on this issue.
What are some of the biggest crutches that we lean on that keep us separated from each other?
I address a lot of these crutches in the book. But, I think one of the overall themes of the crutches we lean on is messiness. I mean, let's face it, relationships are sometimes difficult and messy. It sometimes feels easier to just look into the glow of our smartphone, instead of trying to work through a problem with a friend and articulate with a face-to-face conversation.
You’ve been the executive director of Crossover Cups Mission for 30 years. Can you tell us about your work in this ministry?
I'm blessed to be able to serve with the Crossover Cups Mission. Our ministry focuses primarily on reaching young vulnerable children in the Dominican Republic through education and discipleship. We have missionary families that serve in the country and work with over 600 children in several villages on the North Coast. I'm down there, usually, eight to 10 weeks a year with teams from around the country. I'd love for you to come and join me.
What’s the biggest challenge ahead for building a community in our culture?
That's a great question, especially with what we are facing right now. There's a lot of division and barriers to community in our culture. What's interesting is that a lot of the challenges we see in the U.S. don't exist in other countries, like the Dominican Republic, for example. When you know your survival depends on working with others, you have more of a motivation for real community. I think the biggest challenge we face is the independent spirit.
Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.
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