Friendship I – Apology and Confession

Last Sunday I preached a sermon at St Philip’s on ‘Friendship’. It’s part of a thematic series from the Book of Proverbs. The process of reading and discussing made me realise that I’ve never given much sustained reflection to Friendship, and I think I should.

Calvin and HobbesSo I’m beginning a series of assays into the nature of Friendship.

First, let me set forth an Apology and as a friend, hear my Confession.

I can’t claim to be a great friend,
but I do have some great friends.

I confess to being one of those who’s knowledge outstrips his practice. I’m a product of my education, which is a product of our society. We take our schools with us through the world, being a double articulation of Value. A portable, internalised, microcosm of a microcosm of a Cosm.
I am this way because behind the Creed Articulate lurks a Creed Performative.
“I believe in one god, Power Almighty.”
I pray, and I ask for your prayers, that I would continue to be set free from bondage to the god of this world and into the freedom I own as a Son of the Light.
But I struggle,
I want to be Someone.

We were taught that knowing the unknown is a marketable commodity. In our economy knowledge circulates like a paper currency, it does not do anything, it no longer even stands for anything – a numismatic conspiracy of convenience; a conveniently handled system of marking Who has and does not.

‘Knowing the Unknown’ is a shadow currency frequently pursued by those who can’t pass hard coin. It is a separate economy that creates another system of demarcation. Our social system fosters ever-splintering subcultures. The more hierarchies a system posseses the more stable is will be. More people will be closer to the top of some particular hierarchy and they will choose to believe that this one is the one that truly matters. And even if their subculture is founded on a desire to rage against the machine, the more ‘into’ each subculture we are drawn, the more each individual will have an investment in ensuring that the overall system remains the same.

Smart people have reasons for knowing things that have nothing to do with ‘pure’ love of truth.

All of which is a complex way of saying that, although I’m capable of writing and thinking in an articulate manner about Friendship (you might question this on the basis of the above evidence), I am not therefore an expert on being a friend, not in any way that matters.

Fortunately, or more appropriately, Graciously,
Friendship isn’t altogether something that we practice, any more than it is something that we know.
Mostly Friendship seems to just rush upon you, and without knowing how, or becoming skilled, you are.

If I have failed in exercising friendship to you – if you feel the loss of it – then I am the less for it.

But, by the mercies of God, I am a Friend.

Bear that in mind in what follows.

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