As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the
ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are
also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when
disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.
a new year, with new opportunities to banter around familiar clichés such as
"taking time on the journey," cultivating "spirituality but not religion" and
"going on retreat." Most of us agree that solitude is key to all of these
endeavors, and that solitude is a good thing.
The deep attention and reverence that Thomas Merton and Abdul Aziz brought to each other's books, traditions and lives undergirded their friendship, and the frank way they explored their similarities and differences enlivened it.
David Fincher's The Social Network, with a script by the monarch of machine-gun banter, Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), is a smart, funny film that tells the story of how Facebook came into being. It's a comedy of manners about a desperately uncool Harvard undergrad who creates the most popular club in the world and declares himself president.
Last month Slate
ran a series by Juliet Lapidos called Strictly
Platonic. Lapidos and her friend Jeffrey were born in 1983. They've been
friends since meeting at summer camp as teenagers. There were a few forays into
romantic experimentation, but today they're more like brother and sister;
Fifty years ago, when a generation of seminarians was cutting its theological fangs, friendship was a disdained term. Anders Nygren’s classic Agape and Eros ruled in classrooms and pulpits, and Nygren had little use for philia—the Greek word for the kind of love friends share. Nygren stressed that divine love, agape, is different from other forms of love.