I read this short, yet poignant book this week. I urge you to take time to read it.
Wesley Hill tackles the theology and historical perspective of friendship, while analyzing why friendship seems to be a lost art in modern culture. What is most beautiful about Hill’s writing is that he doesn’t compromise his theology, while writing honestly from his perspective as a gay celibate Christian, and how his orientation affects his view of friendship.
He asks honestly what celibate gay Christians are to do with their longings for love and their fear of loneliness. Is there a place for love in honest relationship within the church? Hill says, yes, in friendship.
I subscribe to a blog called Spiritual Friendship, where Hill is a co-editor, and I’ve been challenged over the past 18 months by his writing. Hill has helped me see the need for friendship in my own life-that it is a holy longing to know and be known by someone else, and the longing doesn’t have to be sexual in nature.
Why I am encouraged and challenged by a gay Christian, when I myself am not gay?
Well, for several reasons. First, I respect Hill’s upholding that marriage is between one man and one woman-and that his calling on his life is celibacy. I respect his honest personal narrative, while still showing immense love for the homosexual community as a whole, even when he might disagree.
I’ve also seen parallels and the immense need for friendship in sickness. Loneliness seems to outweigh any other reality at times, yet I feel as though I have love to give, but wonder, “To whom do I show my love?” And the answer for me has been in mutual friendships. Those that seek to understand and to be honest themselves. Those that seek to learn and are patient. Those that can accept mystery and seeming contradictions. Those who can be in the moment, not always striving for more. Those who can sit and be still. These people are my friends.
Read Wesley Hill, and let yourself be challenged. Read his story and be thankful.
Why is friendship so important in our culture?
What are some roadblocks to friendships deepening?
What helps friendships grow?