The status of modern friendship isn’t good. “It’s precisely because of the atomized, customized nature of our lives that we rely on our friends so very much,” Jennifer Senior recently wrote in The Atlantic. “We are recruiting them into the roles of people who once simply coexisted with us—parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, fellow parishioners, fellow union members, fellow Rotarians.”
Friendships, however, are in short supply. According to one survey, nearly half of Americans have three or fewer close friends: 12% say they have none.
Senior writes, “One could argue that modern life conspires against friendship, even as it requires the bonds of friendship all the more.”
Complicating this problem is that friendship was never meant to be our only social relationship. People need churches, families, and neighbors, all relationships in steep decline in a culture that prioritizes autonomy over responsibility.
The unique beauty of friendship is, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, that it’s about something bigger than itself. In fact, all human relationships are. And, Christians who know that have much to offer a world that doesn’t.
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