Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The Friendship of Christ, Chapter 1

 Erin posts on Chapter 1 of The Friendship of Christ. (On Friday I'll write about Thursday's reading of Chapter 2.)

A couple of years ago I got it into my head to write a blog post on the topic of "having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."  Specifically, what that oft-heard, evangelical-sounding phrase even means

"Obviously," I thought, "we can't have an interpersonal relationship in the same sense that we have friendships with other earth-dwellers.  So what is it?  He already knows us perfectly.  How can an individual soul know him back?  In a way that is highly personal and specific to that particular person, not just as a story that's available to anyone?"

My working theory, fairly nicely tied up and following the rule of three:  A person can know what Jesus has done for them (by self-examination of their own specific sins and faults that Jesus atoned for.  A person can know what Jesus promises them:  forgiveness of those sins specifically, truthful answers to the questions in their own heart, the wholeness of the person that they are created to be.  And a person can know what Jesus is asking of them, specifically:  their particular vocation, the sacrifices asked in each moment, their cooperation in the divine plan.

And it was all very logical and smart, but despite starting to write it many times over a period of nearly two years, mostly in crowded coffee shops—remember those?—I never could make it come out onto the page in a satisfiying way.   My formula lacked something.   I touched on the idea of "personal" in the sense of being particular to the person who seeks, but I missed the Person Sought.   I wrote about "knowing" in an intellectual sense, but not at all in the relationship sense:  all savoir and no connaître.

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In Chapter 1 of The Friendship of Christ, Robert Hugh Benson solves my problem. ...

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