Wesley Hill is one of the brightest and best young writers evangelical Christianity has. His recent cover story at Christianity Today on friendship raised some interesting questions, which we consider in this episode. Listen in as we discuss friendship’s proper shape, its limits, and its role in our late-modern world.
My own previous essay responding to Wesley came up. Read it here if you haven’t yet.
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Special thanks to MK Creative Arts for the audio editing.
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I wouldn’t call Matt “bombastic” here so much as I would wonder aloud why he’s kicking against the goads.
[…] latest Mere Fidelity podcast has just gone online. Once again, I don’t take part, but Derek, Andrew, and Matt have some […]
Having read the essays and listened to the podcast, I’ve posted some thoughts of my own here.
This was a good discussion, as usual. And I really liked Wesley’s article (as I do most things of his that I read). I have three quick thoughts/suggestions:
1. This was a bit awkward in the beginning because it was obviously secretly about same-sex marriage. It got a bit less awkward when it became less secretly about same-sex marriage, but some of that awkwardness remained. I think that could’ve all been largely avoided if someone had mentioned that Wesley is gay (as he did in the article) and that it is significant that this article is situated in the context of gay Christians who want to maintain fidelity to orthodox Christian sexual ethics while yearning, as everyone else does, for rich relationships.
2. I think the awkwardness throughout demonstrates some of the difficulty of consistently affirming modern orthodox Christian positions on friendship, marriage and homosexuality — and, in particular, reckoning as an orthodox Christian with the goods of gay relationships, goods which are largely (if not entirely) due to friendship, goods which many in modern Western culture mistakenly think make those relationships of the kind that can be appropriately solemnised as marriages. I think there needed and needs to be more exploration of what Matt pushed at in some parts: that marriages are not properly just (or essentially) friendships plus other things; they are friendships of a different kind, a kind which is similar to other friendships in some important ways but also very different from them in other important ways.
3. It’d be great to hear what Wesley thinks about this discussion, and I’d love to hear him interact with you guys on the larger questions of friendship, marriage and being gay that he regularly explores in his work. Is there any chance you can have a part two with him that deals with some of these things?
I hope, after Wesley’s book has come out and we have all read it, that we have the opportunity to have him on the podcast to discuss it.
[…] found some things floating around from the podcast Mere Fidelity, and also from Mere Orthodoxy. From Wesley Hill and from Alistair Roberts. All good stuff. But […]
[…] The first part of the book looks at the situation we are in with regards to friendship, using the author’s own experience as a celibate gay Christian as a jumping-off point for how much more anemic our honor of friendship is now–particularly same-sex friendships– than they apparently used to be. He assigns as much blame for the decline in friendship’s power and privilege to the modern instinct that boils every interaction down to its sexual nature as he does to the reactionary traditionalism that wants to elevate marriage well beyond all other human relationships. What we’re left with nowadays is friendship as purely voluntary, thus making the idea of intimacy and mutual comfort wholly dependent on the whims of our friends. Wesley’s Christianity Today cover story from last year covers many of these same themes in a more compressed fashion, which lead to a great discussion of vowed friendships in particular here at Mere Fidelity. […]