Friendship is risky, in the same way that ''true Christian worship is dangerous, far more a risk than a consolation.'' Being so, true worship (and we could insert here, true friendship) ''allows God to go to work on us, sanctifying us, gracing us, purifying, renewing, and reforming us.'' Addressing both Augustine and Aelred of Rievaulx, Wadell discusses the providential nature of friendship, its basis in the Trinity, its creative nature -- ''God is a clever lover,'' he writes, ''constantly surprising us with new expressions of that love.'' All fine points, beautifully made, but Wadell doesn't leave us to our ideals. To love, we must first see, attaining to ''the virtue of reverent and truthful vision.'' This is a work of ascesis, maintains Wadell, daunting maybe, but essential if we are to see clearly and then act by the love of God in us -- friendship as justice, incarnate. Here we find (to quote another Paul) ''a still more excellent way.''
An Eighth Day View:
How do Christians understand friendship and intimacy? How does worship form Christians into a community of the friends of God? What virtues does God call us to incorporate into our lives? In "Becoming Friends," Paul Wadell explores the connections between worship, justice, friendship, and the life we are called to live.
This engaging and accessible book offers a fresh viewpoint from which to explore the nature of Christian friendship. Such friendship, Wadell contends, is more than a bonding of people with similar interests, a "ritual of hopeless consolation." True Christian friendship summons us to love all of our neighbors. Wadell examines obstacles to and characteristics of true friendship and, drawing from the works of Augustine, Aelred of Rievaulx, and other Christian exemplars, contends that we are called to serve God through friendship and that this calling requires us to cultivate certain virtues--especially hope, justice, and forgiveness.
"Becoming Friends" offers a provocative look into the nature and importance of true Christian friendship. Anyone looking to reflect on the indispensable role of good friendships in the Christian life will find this a hopeful and encouraging book.