Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Friday is for Friends 4

Epstein suggests in the second half of his sixth chapter on Friendship: An Expose, eight reasons why friendship as an art, as a preoccupation, or as a core value is no longer what it was. Wondering what you think of these ideas and whether or not they have influenced your development of friendships. Good or bad?
1. It has no legal status; in a society where laws shape more and more of life, friendship isn’t calculably valuable.
2. Life has turned too therapeutic, and humans are too often seeking their own good.
3. We are more mobile.
4. Divorce is on the rise.
5. Social institutions are fewer and less valuable that emphasize same-sex friendships. [I know of a golf course, a private one to be sure, that prohibits women from the clubhouse and course. At one time they were common.]
6. Family commitments are considered more valuable, and family is more demanding.
7. We live in a child-centered society, leading to less time for parents to pursue friendships.
8. More and more focus on marriage leads to lessening of time for friendships.
I’ve tended to have my most important friendships at work, and I spend time with co-workers who become my friends. I’ve almost never had a time in my life when I would go out with “the guys” at night for basketball or softball. Golf is another story: for years I’ve played with Jim Nelson (and David Gill when he was teaching here at NPU), and we play once a week. (Which I can resume next week; the deadline for Mary meant no golf so far this summer.) Kris and I have always reserved weekends for one another and for our family, so I’ve ever played golf on weekends. So, I guess family time has cut into my chance to have what Epstein calls those “classical friendships.”

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posted July 28, 2006 at 10:27 am

I think it is telling that I am adding the first comment to this discussion, while there are already 26 comments on the Liberal Evangelicals revue.
My very best friend is my husband, but I also couldn’t have made it this far without my other ‘best friend’ Denise. We’ve been through 26 years of raising kids, lifes ups and downs, many more downs a few times, and are now celebrating our grown kids and grandkids together. We are both working now, and she’s even moved away a couple of times, but the bond and love is there no matter where we are. Thank heavens for the cell phone age. :)
Life gets hectic and we don’t have nearly the time to spend together as we once did, but we still make time and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can’t imagine life without the blessing of a close friend.

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posted July 28, 2006 at 12:02 pm

It is #7 on the list that rings a bell with me. I live in community that borders on worshipping their children. I am not sure the being child focused is healthy or even defended in the Bible. To be sure the children in our lives need to know they are loved and cared for, but to have their desires and whims dictate the family schedule and priorities is wrong. This is unpopular viewpoint, but that does not make it mistaken.
How do our children know how to form friendships if we do not model it for them. It is also amazing how foreign it is to have the kids in the neighborhood just get together to play a pick up game – they just do not know how to do that.

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posted July 28, 2006 at 3:19 pm

Kent, I totally agree with your sentiment on this one. I loved my kids dearly, but they didn’t dictate our schedule. If they were really interested in an activity and pursued it themselves, then we would work to see that they had the opportunity, but it appears to me that many times children are put in activities to occupy their times as if they were incapable of just playing, like we did as kids.
I was giving this some thought over lunch, and I believe if the current young generation didn’t have computers and calculators, they would be unable to function. Our generation got men to moon and back and overcame many, many obstacles doing it, mostly with imagination and creativity. That is what children learn when they must just play and have to invent ideas to occupy their time. I realize we live in a different world, and it’s likely not never going to be common to see kids just ‘play’ anymore.
I guess I got off on a little nostagia there; my son would surely give me a hard time about that. LOL Things are much better in many ways, and those computers and calculators have enabled us to make giant strides in science and medicine. Nonetheless, those same computers have pulled us away from intacting with one another adn makcing close friendships, at least tangible ones. I don’t doubt that the next generation will probably be as close to their online friends as I am to mine who are ‘in the flesh.’ I guess it will all work out in the end.

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posted July 28, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Need to come to my street. A family moved in last year, with kids. Now, kids from the neighborhood come over daily, are in the street, playing for hours. In my little window of experience, kids getting together to play depends if there are kids in the neighborhood to play with, and the kind of street – busy with traffic, on a steep hill?…… Then consider kids who grow up working on a family farm, next house is not feet away next door, you either drive them or they ride bikes to friends. Then there’s the chores they have that take up chunks of their time. Part may depend on location, location, location. Big city, little city. Rural, not rural.

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posted July 28, 2006 at 6:28 pm

Hi Scot,
In recent years the Lord has opened the door for some “spiritual friendships” with same-sex and cross-sex. I have found these friendships to be a living space, the kind of space John Frye talks about where God works. The internet is a place now, where, you know, one can cultivate friendships; they’re different but they still produce a friendship intimacy that can go pretty deep. My best friend is my wife, but in my cross-sex friendships she’s been involved in that every step of the way and she had cultivated these friendships, too.
She now considers one of her “best” friends to be with someone I cultivated an online friendship. I think your blog here is creating a common friendship and community even though there’s no face-to-face proximity. Work, church, or the internet provide substantive pathways to cultivate meaningful and solid friendships.
For me, cultivating and pursuing friendships with same sex and cross sex became a significant value when I discovered they could be included in with spiritual disciplines.

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