Friendship Advent Reflection, December 1.

For this advent, I will be reflecting a little on Friendship.

Typically the first week of advent focuses on the prophets. Since I didn't write about the prophets in my book, I figured I'd share a thought each day from one of the Greco-Roman thinkers I discuss in my book.

I'll start with Plato. In his "Lysis" dialogue, Plato portrays Socrates musing with a group of young wrestlers after their practice about the nature of friendship. He runs through numerous definitions. One of the first he considers is that friends are "like to the like." What do you think about that? Do you seek out friends who are like you in your tastes, character, political ideas, ethnicity, gender, etc? What do we gain from solidarity with those who are like us? Our social media algorithms often show us posts from friends with whom we agree. So there must be some value in seeking out people who are similar to us. But do we miss anything, if our friends are only always like us? As you start this advent journey, I hope you will take a brief moment and think about your friends. Do you have friends who disagree with you, or who think radically different than you? What would it be like to have a friend, who at your deepest shares your brokenness, vulnerability, and humanity, yet is so radically different from you that you find yourself inspired to be better because of them?

Each day of advent, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25, I plan to post a few thoughts on an aspect of friendship I learned while writing my book, Virtuous Friendship: The New Testament, Greco-Roman Friendship Language, and Contemporary Community. This will be a chance for me to share with you all a little bit from what I learned, while giving you, hopefully, a chance to take a deep breath during this busy season and do some reflection. Also, you won't have to secure another resource for Advent. I realize that you are all at many different places with regard to faith and belief, so use these reflections however you see fit. If you'd be interested in having me come speak at your church, lead a Bible Study, or even just Zoom or Skype in for a Q&A with a Sunday School class or other small group, let me know: doug.hume@pfeiffer.edu.


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