Friendship

Lesson 10: Early Christian Meals

Lesson 10: Early Christian Meals

In the last lesson, I suggested conversing over fine food and drink might be the best way to promote friendship in our day. In this one, I’d like to support the thought by showing how important this is for Christianity. Meals played a major role in the Old Testament. There was Abraham and Sarah offering […]

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Lesson 1: Changes in Friendship

Lesson 1: Changes in Friendship

When I was growing up in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, people spoke of “family and friends.” I had all sorts of “family” throughout the small city. When we would gather for annual reunions, we would be joined by some of the few who had moved away to seek their fortunes. I could also point to many “friends” […]

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Lesson 2: Professional Friends

Lesson 2: Professional Friends

Last summer, I participated in a conversation that illustrates the current situation of friendship. A man sat down beside me and revealed he worked at the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas. When I asked what he did, he hesitated. “It is hard to explain,” he responded. “Many people can not understand. I am a friend.” […]

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Lesson 3: Facebook Friends

Lesson 3: Facebook Friends

Supposedly, I have 48 Facebook friends. I can easily pick up more by accepting the invitations that daily arrive on my e-mail, often from people I have a hard time identifying. And, of course, I can unfriend any of the 48 by simply pushing a button. These Facebook friends are another example of modern negotiated […]

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Lesson 4: Legal Friendship

Lesson 4: Legal Friendship

Marriage is fast becoming another new form of friendship. It is quite common to hear someone speak of their spouse as their best friend, something that would have sounded quite strange when I was growing up. But today, our society regards marriage as little more than legal friendship. In the first lesson, I mentioned sociologists […]

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Lesson 5: Christian Friendship

Lesson 5: Christian Friendship

Whenever I spoke of the Church as a “family of families,” I heard from singles, couples without children, and same sex couples. They all said such language made them feel excluded. I understood what they meant, but could never come up with better imagery. After all, the Bible calls God “Father” and other Christians “brothers […]

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Lesson 6: Sharing

Lesson 6: Sharing

When I at first asked my face-to-face discussion groups to define friendship, I got the answers I expected. They seemed to say the same things as early Christian writers. For instance, they echoed what Ambrose wrote in 340 AD: “Friends open their hearts to each other, sharing their deepest thoughts, their hopes and fears, their […]

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Lesson 7: Way to Wisdom and God

Lesson 7: Way to Wisdom and God

If asked to define friendship, most people say something about sharing. Few would include anything about friendship being a way to knowledge. We think of friends working or playing together, but seldom sharing ideas in order to educate themselves. Yet, this idea is common in many ancient writings. Augustine in his 398 AD Confessions described […]

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Lesson 8: Self Denial

Lesson 8: Self Denial

The model for friendship is found in John 15: 12-17, right in the middle of Jesus’ words about love. He claims we are now friends, because he has shared all he knows with us. He then goes to say the epitome of love is someone who gives his life for his friend. Jesus recognizes sharing […]

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Lesson 9: Promoting Friendship

Lesson 9: Promoting Friendship

So how can we promote the important elements of traditional friendship? We obviously cannot force people to enlarge their circle of friends by preaching at them. Robert Putnam, famous for his book Bowling Alone, felt the answer was to develop new forms of volunteer organizations that would pull people away from their televisions and out […]

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