Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friendship

"Hospitality, dialogue, collaboration and partnership are at the heart of establishing deep relationships among people, organizations and our Lord God. As we seek to follow the model of Jesus, we discover the richness that love and sacrifice can bring to the bond of friendship."

I've found so far that friendship is a difficult thing for many Christians to grasp. Of course we're good at creating meaningful relationships among like minded Christians who we can fully relate and help grow spiritually. But we're not so good at friendships among people very different from us, let alone people who are not-yet-Christians.

Here's a question to ask yourself - do you have any meaningful friendships with people who are not Christians? Sometimes I think our call to be "missional" Christians or our call to witness has caused us to create friendships that are fake. Friendships that are created only for the sake of telling people about Jesus. That's important, of course, but I tend to think that doesn't happen if our friendships are built solely around our desire to spread the gospel. It seems there is real value in friendship for the sake of friendship itself.

Here's another question - If you're a conservative evangelical do you have any meaningful friendships with more liberal Christians, and likewise the other way around. Seminary has been a great place for me to meet many people with divergent social, political and theological views. At first I didn't think there would be any reason to build relationships with or understand the views of people who were very much different from me. But now it's just the opposite. I'm realizing that God is working in many ways more than I can comprehend. The friendships we have with people different from us are very important to our own development as Christians. I can't express how thankful I am that God has put people in my life who are very different from the say I am, I am now also different and so are they.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Sarah Louise said...

John, I think you've been spammed (see comment #1). The way around this is word recognition.

Ah, Friendship. This post reminds me of an earlier one where you talked about wanting to go to a Christian high school when you became a Christian. As a girl/woman who has always been an outsider, I had to be friends with people I didn't see eye to eye with or I'd have no friends. I can count on my hand the periods of time I've had friends I could pray with. Right now is one of those times, but it has been a broken tapestry, not a solid one. It makes me sad to think that we, who have Jesus as our example ("What a friend we have in Jesus"), could suck at such a life-important quality as friendship. But I know I have wrecked many friendships because I thought I could save a soul--the most selfless act ever done by a friend was done by my sometimes Unitarian friend who I've known since high school. At the time, none of my Christian friends could help me, and yet she drove hundreds of miles to hug me. Right now I'm trying to be friends with my 23-year-old sister (there is ten year age difference). Keep blogging--this is such an important thought.

Aside: Charlie Daniel's song "Uneasy Rider" just came on the radio--now that could be a study in how not to do friendship...(and he's a Christian).

John said...

beatiful, I've attracted spam! Thanks Suzi for the advise on word verification.

I didn't say anything about friendship with Jesus, I'd love to hear what that means to poeple.

marlaena said...

john -

i was thinking about who i'm friends with and one group of woment that i often take for granted is my "tennis ladies". God has given me a gift in being able to combine a sport i love to play and friendships with other women whom I probably would have no contact with otherwise. Thank you God and sorry i take that for granted sometimes.

mc

btw - i wonder how they comment spam?