Author Faith Popcorn coined the term "cocooning" in the 1990s, referring to "the trend that sees individuals socializing less and retreating into their home more." She noted cocooning as a commercially siginifant trend that would, among other things, lead to stay-at-home electronic shopping.
When cocooning, people turn into themselves and isolate themselves from the outside world. It's an all-about-me thing to do, cocooning is. Phone calls might not get returned. Email probably isn't even checked, much less responded to. Relationships, connections, and responsibilities take a back seat to the world that turns within the cocooner's own life and home.
Christian theology, specifically in the Bible, teaches against such behavior. Created in the image of the Triune God (Genesis 1:26–28), we are made for relationship with God and one another (Genesis 2:18–25). Beyond that, together we make up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), each doing our part for the common good. We need one another to function (1 Corinthians 12:14–24), and together we both suffer and rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). Sure, Jesus withdrew to pray (Luke 5:16), but as far as we know these times were brief.
Seeing Christian community as one of six "holy habits that produce spiritual growth," the Wesleyan tradition lists cocooning, in addition to our other "cultural trends" of fragmentation, isolation, consumerism, as something which inhibits our relationship with God.
Based on this we might conclude that the Christian within her cocoon is selfish, lazy, and inconsiderate of others. Or we may fear that over time, as she sequesters herself from society, she will lose contact with people and her relationships may deteriorate.
To both I say exactly, and God is at work in the midst.
To be continued…
Rev. Angie Mabry-Nauta is a writer and an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church in America (RCA). She served as a solo pastor for six years. A member of the Redbud Writer's Guild, Angie blogs at "Woman, in Progress…". Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @Godstuffwriter.