Diamond Geezers: FRIENDS

I’m working on a new book! Three quarters of the way through writing it at the moment and hoping some kind and talented person out there might help me put a great website together for it too. It’s a book for blokes, called Diamond Geezers – and will be published early 2011 by Integrity. Exciting eh?

I’m going to start putting occasional bits online for your thoughts/ comments/ discussion. I may or may not be able to respond to those – as I’m headed to a publishing deadline.

One of the chapters focuses on friends – I made the statement yesterday in my talk that most men don’t do friendships very well. We can end up insulating ourselves, which leads to isolating ourselves.

Last week on holiday in Zante I was privileged to attend a small but incredibly lively Pentecostal church (Greek speaking, good to help me struggle on with my New Testament Greek) where three new believers were baptised.  a great time- all these candidates dressed in white to symbolise their new lives. At the end of the service all the men kissed all the other men.

Over my years in C of E churches some people moaned about sharing a handshake during the peace in services – well I went up to thank the Pastor and he smacked the lips either side of my face.  I admit I didn’t feel comfortable with that level of intimacy!

I think we men can be content to be superficial. There was a time in my life I was quite happy to just be intimate with my wife and superficial with most other people. Where did that come from? As a police officer I only had mates who were other police officers, and some of those relationships forged in tough circumstances remain very strong and deep today; but I didn’t trust other people. Then when I became a minister I was subtly told, “You can’t have friends in the parish,”  that was the received wisdom from older clergy, and moving round the country every few years didn’t make for easy depth of friendships either.

Yet here we are saying we follow a God who became a man who had close mates who he lived with 24/7 and shared everything with. He caleld them FRIENDS. He was intimate – he washed their feet and was betrayed with a kiss!

Maybe it’s the memory or possibility of being let down or of letting others down that makes us put a crust around our hearts so nobody gets too close again? Do you agree most men are not good a CLOSE friendships? Happy to punch on the shoulder or awkwardly slap three times on the back if you go for a man hug, but not letting others know your ups and downs, your secret thoughts, fears and dreams? People who you mentor and/or mentor you? Companions on your journeys? Work friends?

Women – do you feel like you really know the men in your life?

Men – who’s your best friend?Does anyone really know you? I’m meeting mine for breakfast tomorrow.

Are you ‘content to be superficial?’ Does the internet/ social media etc encourage that (eg facebook ‘Friends’)

Do you have, like Jesus, various groups of friends -can you put some names on these groups?

3 – Peter, James & John

12 – Apostles.

72 – men & women who relied on him and he relied on them?

2 thoughts on “Diamond Geezers: FRIENDS

  1. I was discussing friendships with a friend last night (my best friend actually!) and we agreed that behind our relationship to God, relationships and friendships are possibly the most important things we can have on Earth. Yet my generation and the one following it initiate friendships with the primary aim of ‘having fun’ rather than who are the right people to be building us up and furthering us in our walk with God.

    You’re quite right about men being scared to be vulnerable with other men, and there are good reasons sometimes – being too vulnerable leaves yourself open to attack from satan and I think you can become too reliant on other people’s affirmation instead of God’s. However, having someone or a couple of people who know you nearly as well as your wife does is brilliant and helpful – men understand other men better than women do! We connect with men in a different capacity than our wives and we need good male companions to do life with – to encourage, constructively criticise, laugh and cry with. I used to make the mistake of spreading myself too thin, trying to have 15 friends who were my ‘best friends’ and who knew loads about me. But I was seeking affirmation and trying to gain confidence from them and not from God. Consequently, I’ve cut down on unhelpful male friendships which I had just for the sake of being popular.

    The other thing that I hope you mention in your book is how we as men should have relationships with each other where we are able to speak sometimes harshly into each other’s lifes as a matter of course. We are so often scared to be the one who questions why, for example, they were out until 2am drinking one night, because we don’t want to ‘rock the boat’. But a true friend should pull you up on all the crap in your life, not just congratulate you for the successes.

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