Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Contagious Bonds of Faith and Friendship

My weekly column at Patheos today looks to the saints and apostles for inspiration on glories of friendship... and how friendships can evangelize and build up the church.

Here's a sample:

Faith is caught not taught. That pithy adage describes my own conversion to Christ as a teen. I was raised in a Christian home, but I did not as yet own my faith. Though I knew about Christ, I did not know him. 
The witness of a few close friends won me over. At first, it was more of what they did and less about what they said. 
My heart yearned for what they had… authentic love for one another born of respect, not competition or social status. They walked together with an easy regard for the uniqueness of the other; characterized by a building up, not tearing down. Their joy radiated from boon companionships. A community ethic rooted in teamwork brought compassionate service to others. 
There was a warm fire about them. And I needed to know its source. 
Jesus said, “I have called you friends.” (John 15: 15.) 
Friends… The God of the Universe wants to be friends with us. God took on a permanent partnership with his creatures, not only by taking on flesh in the Incarnation, but by longing to share our company so that one day we might share his. 
God, the mighty friend -- refuge and rock, consoler and confidant, healer and lover -- caught my attention. And I have never been the same. Once “caught” I couldn’t wait to be “taught” about the faith of the friends of God. 
There's more.  Subscribe to the column here. 

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