CNS Interview: Ron Belgau and Eve Tushnet Posted by Spiritual Friendship 7 Share this:FacebookTwitterTumblrEmailLike this:Like Loading... Related
Listening to this, I just made a connection I hadn’t made before.
You’ve talked before about how friendship seems to require a common interest or goal. But then it occurs to me that marriage is “nothing more” than a friendship, where the common goal is bringing children into the world and raising them. Part of the reason for the high rate of marriages breaking up these days would then be because, even in those marriages that have accept children, the children are still not seen as the primary common interest or goal.
In a Christian marriage, there is another common goal – to help each other to get to heaven. (Poorly said, I know, but I hope you know what I mean.) And part of the vocation of marriage, from the Christian point of view, requires permanence, whether there are children or not. And requires both sexes. Perhaps this could be called the form that spiritual friendship takes in the vocation of Christian marriage?
This seems to have two results. First of all, People do not go into a marriage built around the need of children from day one. Secondly, since marriage may be built around a much less lasting goal (sexual fulfillment, feeling in love, not being lonely) then when those goals fade, change, or seem to be better met in another arrangement, the marriage fails.
Spiritual friendship outside the vocation of marriage, then, will look different, because the “non spiritual” common goal will be different. I sometimes think the idea of BFF is an attempt to recover some of the meaning that non marital friendships used to have.
And I wonder whether the David and Jonathon type of friendship was really that rare? Certainly, the fact that Jonathon was a prince, and David was annointed to be king in place of Saul, meant that their friendship had an unusual impact on salvation history. And that the obligations of such a friendship had different impacts that it might for a commoner. But mightn’t it have been usual for people to have lifelong friendships that incurred responsibilities similar to kinship?
It seems to me the common goal of spiritual friendship, even outside of marriage, should always be to help the other person get to heaven.
This is exactly why I’ve voices suspicion in the past about Side A homosexual marriage AND Side B “Once Gay Always Gay” theology- the goal doesn’t seem to be to get the other person to heaven, the goal seems to be only to reduce loneliness in this life and gain a bunch of benefits from the State for doing so.
The Apostle Paul tells us there is no Marriage in Heaven- that the vows taken are truly “until death do we part”
You are correct. My goal isn’t to get my husband to heaven. My goal is to make sure he is truly loved by me. That I will be there for him in the good times and the bad. That I will take care of him when he is sick, dry his tears when he is sad, and hug in in times of joy.
“Walking with God has been good and I want to keep walking with Him even if it means sacrifice and struggle.”
So, what do you have to say to those people for whom walking with God has not been so good and who, as a consequence, cannot help but see the sacrifice and struggle that goes with it as fruitless and impotent?
Why has walking with God not so good? I’m afraid the answer will be because of the sacrifice and struggle.
In reality I think it is best to say: I’m walking towards God with sacrifice taking my right hand and struggle taking my left.
By definition the Christian walk cannot be fruitless – unless the ‘essence’ of faith is somehow missing.
All I could say is to look at the crucifix, and try to accompany the person with compassion: suffering-with.