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In the Bible, I find only two instances of come-hell-or-high-water friendships.
David and Jonathan were more than buddies. Jonathan risked the royal wrath of his father King Saul by befriending David.
Ruth and Naomi seem also to have been more than mother and daughter-in-law. Ruth could have abandoned Naomi and returned to her own people. But the two stuck together, and eventually Ruth became David’s great-grandmother.
The other instances commonly cited aren’t as clearly “friendships of the good.” Elijah and Elisha were mentor and pupil. Moses and Aaron, Mary and Elizabeth, Abraham and Lot, all had family ties.
Paul built friendships with his missionary companions Barnabas, Timothy, and Mark. But he also quarrelled and split angrily with them.
King Herod valued his conversations with John the Baptist. But it’s hard to call it friendship when one of you is chained to the wall.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Bible, Friendship, Aristotle
The late Scottish philosopher John Macmurray once suggested, in a BBC talk, that friendship was an illustration of the ideal “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” that Jesus talked about.
Jesus, Macmurray reasoned, contradicted himself. One time he would tell his listeners, the kingdom is already here. Look around, you can see it. You all know it. Other times, Jesus would say it is not here. Not yet. But it can burst in, explode almost, unexpectedly.
What human situation, Macmurray asked, fits those contradictory conditions? Friendship, he answered. Everyone knows friendship already. Yet we also know that friendship can blossom suddenly, between people who previously were barely acquaintances.
Tags: Friendship, Macmurray, Ellithorpe, kinds of love