Friendship Advent Reflection, December 2

For my Advent reflection today, I want to continue thinking about friendship in Plato. In the Lysis dialogue, Socrates continues his discussion with the boys by asking whether we actually might seek out friends who are different from us. There is a certain pleasure in having a friend whose tastes, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses are different and complimentary to your own. This notion of friendship can apply directly to our contemporary world. When we seek out friends, I wonder whether we shouldn't be more mindful of diversity. There are more than a billion active people on Facebook. If we wanted to, we could use social media to befriend people who come from radically different cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, etc. not to mention political ideas, ages, tastes, you name it. If you are anything like me (and sadly I know you are because I can scroll through my friends list), most of your friends on social media share at least something, if not many things in common with you. Is this a loss, a missed opportunity, or are we just being prudent? Maybe we would be richer if we chose friends who truly were different from us in multiple ways.

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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