Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A No-Strings-Attached Friendship

Under Rachel Held Evans’ post, Better conversations between churched and un-churched Christians, Lynn makes an excellent comment:

“There was a time when I wouldn’t have believed it wasn’t possible for people on either side of this divide to avoid hurting each other, but then I met this family at the last church I went to. For almost a year, they patiently let me ask honest and definitely heretical questions in the small group they ran. And when I decided that I needed to leave because I just didn’t believe what the church and its denomination believed, they didn’t beat down my door and demand I come back. After a while, I just started getting e-mails – ‘We haven’t seen you around, and we miss you. How about coffee this week?’ ‘Do you have dinner plans for Friday?’ ‘So we’re having a family movie night. Interested?’

“And the crazy thing is that they actually just wanted to get together – without questioning my theology or my decision to stop attending church. They’ve never used it as an excuse to ask me how my ‘walk with the Lord’ is going.

“I still think this kind of friendship is very rare, but it’s good to be reminded that other Christians can totally surprise you. Little by little, it chips away at my cynicism.”

I agree with Lynn that this kind of no-strings-attached friendship is rare (including in terms of how I live my own life), but it’s beautiful when it does happen.  I also appreciate Lynn’s comment because it reminds me of how many Christians handle a person who leaves the church or who has not shown up to church or a small group for a while.  They either ignore the person altogether and don’t call or write, as if the person doesn’t exist or matter, or they pressure the person to come back, whether that person wants to do so or not.  But I think that Lynn did well to present a third way: offer a no-strings-attached friendship. 

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