I’ve just finished reading David Bennett’s new book “A War of Loves“, subtitle “The unexpected story of a gay activist discovering Jesus”.
I’ve found it to be a really excellent book. If you want to read a review with lots of quotes from the book to see what I mean, have a look at David Robertson’s review.
I don’t really want to review the book per se, but given that this is Friend Zone I wanted to make a brief comment about what the book says about friendship.
This site originated largely as a result of same-sex attracted / gay Christians who have helped the church rediscover the value in friendship. I read people like Wesley Hill on Spiritual Friendship, Ed Shaw in The Plausibility Problem and Vaughan Roberts in True Friendship. What I think these people have rediscovered of late is that friendship is so much more than what society – not to mention the church – thinks it is.
When the church makes an idol of marriage and family, rather than showing the world what the body of Christ should be, then it’s small wonder that people who can’t enter into traditional families for various reasons feel excluded. (Kevin DeYoung recently had some helpful comments about idolising the family).
One of the things I took from this book is that the church has actually failed to live up to its calling to be the body of Christ – too often the biological family has been held up and friendship sidelined. It is for this reason that I think it’s so important to be embracing friendship: if the church can’t show the world that sex and romance is not god, then who can?
What would it be like if everyone in the church – both single and married – started seeing the world a bit different, started seeing marriage as a good thing but not the ultimate thing? What if we started opening up to friendship with others – to love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Peter 1:22)? What if we asked the Spirit to so transform us that we could really show the world what life could be without the idol of sex and romance in the way?
So many things in David’s book were helpful on this, and I think it’s a really helpful read from his perspective. I highly recommend reading it and I hope it will give to the church a much needed perspective on friendship.