The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Cold welcome

When is a "cold welcome" warm? When you have an open door policy — for your fridge.

This riddle is a commentary on what's lacking in contemporary life, say the authors of Refrigerator Rights: Creating Connections and Restoring Relationships (Penguin Putnam, 2002). Will Miller and Glenn Sparks collaborate and research at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., where Miller is pastor of counseling at University Church and Sparks is professor of communication.

They contend that "refrigerator rights" — defined as the type of warm relationships that allow free access to the contents of a friend's fridge — are being abridged by the chilling effects of today's society in which the average American moves every five years. They also claim that an emphasis on individualism and the effects of "emotionally numbing" mass media contribute to the decline of close relationships.

So how do you warm up your life? The authors suggest reaching beyond your immediate family, balancing self-care and care for others, and re-establishing vital social networks.

Do that successfully and you might see a hike in your grocery bill.


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