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Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.

Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.  

Charles Wiley  
Barry Ensign-George
David Gambrell
Christine Hong 
Karen Russell
Teresa Stricklen  

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August 22, 2011

Theological Friendship?

I’ve never been one of those people who have a huge number of people I call “friends.” I have a large circle of acquaintances, but people who I allow to know me well can be counted on my fingers, with a couple left over. So when we began to talk about “communities” of theological “friends,” I have to admit I was skeptical about the term. People I know might make up a community. Friends are something different – they have more to do with the heart and mutual trust than proximity.

Over the past four weeks, events have forced me to examine the circles of relationships that surround me and the importance of their roles. What I’ve found is this: I've been too narrow in my definition of "friend."  I actually have many people in my life that I consider “friends” and each of them play a different role. Some of them are people who support me regardless of whether I’m right or wrong. One friend is the “memory keeper” of all the versions of me since college. A couple of friends I’ve made family by choice. Some are family I’ve made friends by choice. One particular group is the “what were you thinking” group that calls me out on bad choices ranging from indignant e mails to hair color.

What does this have to do with theological friends? I spend part of my days thinking about theological friendships, writing about their importance, talking with others about their value – in short, selling the concept to others.  It's important that I understand their importance.

Theological friendships are those relationships that are grounded in things of the faith, the relationships that have as much to do with the soul than with proximity. Trust is part of it, but the trust comes not from experience so much as it comes from knowing that our faith binds us as brothers and sisters. It’s a trust that comes from faith that in Christ, through Christ and with Christ, we hold each other accountable in love and faith. These theological friendships take a multitude of forms and hold a varying degree of depth. But I believe they are essential to our ability to live out the faith we hold.

It’s just as important to have people to tell me that I need to spend more time with scripture as it is to have people to tell me that I should never, ever consider a hair color called “chocolate cherry.” I need to have people in my life that will pray with me, for me, beside me and because of me. I need to have people to study with, to reflect with, to be faithful to and with. Luckily, I have such people in my life and I believe these people are instrumental to viewing my job as “call” rather than “career.” And all my skepticism aside, they do form a community.

Thanks be to God.

Tags: friendship, theological


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