The Importance of Friendship Revisited

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I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about this post from three and 1/2 years ago.

It’s the issue that simply does not go away for me.

And I think we all have completely underestimated it’s importance. 

Especially in the Church.

And without it, we should question whether we are the Church at all.

8 thoughts on “The Importance of Friendship Revisited

  1. Burt

    Of all my posts not to receive a comment…this would be one of them!

    Oh, the irony… [img]http://lifewithchrist.org/js/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/tounge_smile.gif[/img]

  2. shanti

    LOL…the irony indeed! Maybe everyone is just thinking real hard. [img]http://lifewithchrist.org/js/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/tounge_smile.gif[/img]

    Maybe the answer is partly that “real” friendships take a lot of time, energy and effort. After God (where we should put most of our energy), family comes next. Coincidentally, I just did a post on a book I was reading about brothers and sisters being best friends. I think it’s a real test of who you are as a person, if the people you live and grow up with actually like you. [img]http://lifewithchrist.org/js/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/wink_smile.gif[/img] Even though you have different “likes” and interests, one should be able to show unconditional love which shows itself by being considerate.
    After my family, I have a few good friends. About three…and then I have some “regular” friends. There isn’t enough time in the day to meet everybody’s needs. I don’t think it’s the number of friends we have, but the way in which we treat everyone we come across that really counts.
    Yes. Ted Haggard obviously needed some good friends. Friends who would have told him how he should be living the Christian life, but also there to pray for him and tell it to him in a loving manner. But he only needed 2 or 3 really good ones–and maybe one of them should have been his wife. [img]http://lifewithchrist.org/js/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/tounge_smile.gif[/img]

  3. clint

    Burt,

    I was thinking how true your words are for me also. Perhaps it is one of the ‘hazards’ of our profession?

    I’ve never been fond of long-distance friendships, but I would be willing to be your encourager, Burt, and that could develop into friendship, perhaps. I believe we have a lot in common, you and I.

    I know that it is likely you didn’t write these posts in an effort to seek out friendships, so feel free to disregard the above.

    As to the conversation about Mr. Haggard, it seems to me that he was intentional in keeping all of his activities and longings a secret. His wife claims she didn’t have a clue. I don’t know if a friend would have seen through the deception, even a very close friend.

  4. Sassiekiwi

    Hi Pastor Burt

    I have just read this … at 3am on a Sunday morning while being unable to sleep. Very thought provoking words. I do wonder (not wanting to sound gender biased) whether it is more difficult for guys to develop the type of friendship you describe above (generally speaking). I am blessed with great friends in my life and because I am now living in South Korea, I feel even more privileged at how we have kept close, honest and transparent relationships at a distance. Skype and technology have certainly helped a lot!

    Two things grabbed me in what you have written.
    “In a real, Christ-centered friendship, there is a desire for the other person to succeed and grow. There is the giving of oneself to that end. We encourage one another, laugh and cry together, share our hopes, share our fears, share our victories, share our struggles, share our understanding of truth and communicate the events, joys and sorrows of our lives…even as we listen to one another and make space in our lives for each other. This all happens without feeling like we are going to be exploited, judged, evaluated and/or compared. We simply are commited to one another in practical, demonstrable, and heartfelt ways that are held in tangent to our love and commitment to Christ.”

    I am very privileged and travel a lot globally. One of the things I have become aware of while meeting people, connecting with friends around the world and just listening in different countries is a growing hunger for connection and relationships that are transparent and authentic. It seems people are struggling to find these in church. It seems people are missing a sense of Christ centred community and are hungry for it. There seems to be a desire to get back to the basics in our christian walk.

    The other thing you said that grabbed me was:
    “Sometimes I’m not sure if schedule and “busy-ness” clouds our priorities or actually reveals them. Lately, I’ve been thinking it’s the latter.”

    I would tend to agree with you about it being the latter and that is a very sobering thought – one which makes me feel the need to stop and examine my life.

    Thanks for this. Much to think about.

  5. Kenneth Kissane

    I’ve been thinking really hard about this post . Fellowships are basically set up for 9 to 5ers with weekly meetings being in the evenings. The non 9 to 5ers can possibly be overlooked or thought not to care because of lack of participation ( how come I don’t see that guy except for on Sunday ? )
    Just hoping you keep a special eye out for the non 9 to 5 ers.

  6. Burt

    Thanks everyone for the interaction. I appreciate your responses and thoughtful replies.

    Tinuviel7: I agree that it’s not about the number of friends, but certainly the quality. And the question is are we pressing beyond the superficial and truly being real?

    Clint: It’s definitely a hazard of the profession! But I also think it can be our human nature to hide away. Real friendships are work and require investment, commitment and vulnerability. Most of us are too busy either maintaining our Christian image or convincing ourselves we don’t need anyone. As for your offer for long distance encourager…thanks. I’ll take you up on it and try to be the same!

    Sassiekiwi: Thanks for your perspective. How interesting that you are finding that hunger for authenticity in relationships globally. How frustrating that people aren’t finding it in the church! Why do we view church as a place we go instead of who we are? If it’s who we are, then why aren’t we (the church) finding deep, meaningful friendships? Are we willing to truly invest in it and mutually commit?

    Kenny: I hear what you’re saying about group meetings. You are exactly right! Yet real fellowship isn’t about an official gathering, but about real, mutual disclosure and sharing. That’s certainly not confined to merely preset times!

  7. Replica Handbags

    Not the kind that remains content to keep things at the level where we embrace when we happen to see each other, but live separate the rest of the time.

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