16 April 2014
Too many Christians, even those who see one another regularly,
relate with very little, if any, reference to their shared faith.
- Vaughn Roberts
I bought this book when I went to church in Oxford last Sunday, at St. Ebbes Church, about a five minute walk from Christ Church College, and started reading it at Turl Street Kitchen the next morning (above). It is written by the Rector of St. Ebbes, and they were selling it and many other books (I might have purchased a few other books....) at the church.
It is a good book. Compact, direct, and to the point. It is thought provoking. At 88 pages, it's a quick read, but it quickly draws attention to the heart of the matter. I like how he draws from C.S. Lewis' concept of friendship -- how couples look face-to-face at each other and ignore the rest of the world, but friends stand shoulder-to-shoulder, looking out together to the world.
This quote above kind of hits it on the mark. It seems as though sometimes people we call close friends never get into any spiritual matters, which is the part of friendship that is the deepest, and most true. It's not just having similar interests or mutual advantages for one another. If it is only that, that is the surface level friendships.
As I sipped my cappuccino and analysed my own friendships, I see how that is intensely true. My closest friends are those who I have spiritual conversations with. They aren't always the easiest conversations, though; they cause us to open up and reveal true matters of the heart and soul. And that shows trust with the friend.
I realize that I need to be even more intentional about asking the simple questions that open the spiritual door- such as "what are you finding especially encouraging?" or "is there anything you are struggling with?"
It is by asking these simple questions that a deeper level can be reached, and if a friend doesn't want to go there, then perhaps they are not meant to be a spiritual friend, and may have to be kept at a more surface level.
There were a few parts of the book that have really helped me with some certain friendships I've struggled with and it comforted me in knowing that it is okay if I let go. Friendship has to go both ways. Two are involved. Don't waste time in trying for something that isn't there.