Everybody dreams of having a dream; to latch on to an idea that consumes every fiber of their being, captivating their imagination every single waking moment of their day for how the world can become a better place. A lot of people dream of having such a dream—but far too few can say they know exactly what that dream is. And far fewer have the faintest idea of how to sew that dream into the fabric of reality.
For the last two years, I have undergone a completely unexpected journey of discovering a dream for the Church to meet a major need pervading our American culture. This dream is so clear and pungent that it consumes my mind every single day at how it can burst forth from the abstract ideals in my mind and colorize our everyday reality. And if you’ve ever spent any time considering the legitimate possibility of changing the world around you, it is far beyond intimidating. Yet this is a dream that resonates with every part of who God made me to be, convicting every inch of my soul.
What is the dream?
The dream is a renaissance of friendship.
This journey began with a research project I did over homosexuality and the church during the first semester of my graduate degree. One of the books that was highly recommended to me was titled Spiritual Friendship by Wesley Hill. The book is about how Wesley Hill as a celibate gay christian found belonging in the local church by discovering the richest, most vibrant theological depiction of the most fundamental human bond I have ever heard: spiritual friendship.
Spiritual friendship is a deep, sacred understanding of friendship that completely surpasses how the average American views their friendships – let alone how Christians view their friendships within the church. As someone who loves having friendships and helping other people feel included, Wesley Hill’s book had me floored. I never read an articulation of friendship that was so theologically rich and utterly gorgeous, at that. But what particularly struck me is at the end of his book, Wesley said it was his dream to somehow see the local church rediscover the significance that spiritual friendship can play in their communities – he just had no idea how it could be done.
I was inspired. Although Wesley didn’t know how to implement spiritual friendship into church cultures, I had this wild idea that I could somehow partner alongside his dream and figure out how it can be done. So, I decided to devote the remainder of my graduate education researching spiritual friendship and how it could benefit the Church as we minister to our Western, post-modern, post-Christian, lonely world.
Never did I ever imagine the content I would uncover over the following two years would resonate with me as much as it has. I have learned (and continue to learn) so much about how this radical understanding of friendship can serve as a renaissance for the Church’s community within its walls, as well as how friendship can propel its mission beyond its walls to an American people that a Gallup poll has listed to be amongst the loneliest in the world.
There is a hidden power in the most fundamental human relationship that is urging to be unleashed in a culture that is desperate for significant connection with others.
I have a reached a point, though, where I can’t keep this content to myself. As the prophet Jeremiah similarly said, it is a fire in my bones that I can cannot contain. I’m bursting at the seems with it. Thus, The BFFs Church blog was born.
This blog is my attempt to publicly share what the Lord has so heavily laid on my heart. But more than anything, it’s to begin a conversation. It’s to expose how our American culture naturally steeps a lifestyle of isolation and loneliness, and how spiritual friendship can transform how we understand our relationship with God, revolutionize our friendships within the church, and be the vehicle for how we bring the Gospel to our culture, and even the world.
Where We’re Heading
Over the next several weeks, I will lay the groundwork for The BFFs Church by covering several topics that set up the conversation. This will include how we are designed for community from Scriptural and scientific standpoints, the prevailing issue of loneliness in our American culture (which I’m deeming “The Loneliness Epidemic), and an overview of spiritual friendship and the consequent lifestyle that comes with it. Once the groundwork is laid, all future blogs will either dive into these topics at a deeper level, recall stories from my own life, or reflect on scripture and other topics related to the conversation.
My hope is that in joining this conversation, we will realize how tragic it is to live this life alone, and that we will reprioritize friendship—specifically spiritual friendship—at the top of our life values. Because once we realize how sacred connecting with others is, then I guarantee it will drastically change how we go about our relationships, both for the betterment of our lives and for optimum kingdom impact.
That said: I am stoked out of my mind to begin this conversation. All in all, my greatest hope is this conversation will begin a renaissance that will cause us to never look at our friendships the same ever again.