A friend shared a link to an article and I found it to be very interesting. I found it interesting because it’s a chance to learn a lesson from an unexpected source. Before I share my thoughts though, I’d like you to read the article. It’s a long one at just under 3000 words, so you’ll need a few minutes to read it through.
What did you think?
My friend had this to say when she posted the link on Facebook, “I can’t tell if I’m more disturbed that these people exist in this day and age or that they can be calm and charming.”
That likely would have been my initial thought had I not read her comment before reading the article.
Let me offer another thought that I shared as a comment in reply to hers. “I actually found it rather fascinating that out of all the people rallying against this student, one professor was open minded enough to accept the individual separate from his beliefs.”
What’s more, I’m starting to think that I should be rather saddened that ONLY one professor was open minded enough to accept the individual separate from his beliefs.
What if instead of being a white supremacist, this student was a Christian Zealot? What if he was a Muslim Radical? What if he believed the Earth was flat? What if he was a Gay Rights activist? What if he believed in Abortion… or preached Anti-Abortion?
Are we to be judged solely on the merits of our beliefs? Is it more than that, perhaps our actions come into play. What if nobody sees those beliefs or actions? What if you keep them to yourself?
Do you judge someone differently when their beliefs or actions are held in private? Most likely you do.
You judge people differently when you are unaware of their beliefs and actions.
Think about all your friends. How many of them do you really know? Can you tell me their Religious Beliefs? Can you tell me their view on Abortion? Can you tell me their thoughts on Gay Rights? Can you tell me their stance on the Death Penalty? What if they believed their race was superior? These are some of the most controversial topics of our times.
If you found out that your friend not only believed in things opposite your beliefs but actively preached these beliefs to the world, how would you feel?
Would you feel betrayed? Would you feel angry? Could you/Would you/Should you maintain that friendship?
I would posit that being closed minded to alternative possibilities is worse than holding a radical or unpopular belief.
Here are the lessons you should come away with after reading this post and the accompanying article.
What are your thoughts?
We had a taste of what Friendship Society could be this past weekend. My wife’s cousin, his wife, and their three kids stayed with us this weekend. I had only met the cousin and wife once and it was over ten years ago. My wife knew him only slightly better than me, with a few visits during her childhood. In any case, we barely knew them when we offered for them to stay with us for the weekend.
We anxiously waited for them to arrive. While we waited, we had plenty of time to wonder what this family was going to be like. They grew up with a strong Christian upbringing, and we unsure of what to expect. We were afraid they might be preachy or judgmental. We’ve had this experience before, mostly outside the family, but sometimes on Facebook with other parts of the family.
When they finally arrived, we welcomed them in and had wonderful conversation. We talked for hours as we got to know each other. We quickly discovered that our fears were unfounded. These folks acted as one might expect good Christians to act. They were kind and loving. They were thankful for everything we provided and for allowing them to stay with us. Even though all we had to offer was a pull out sofa bed and an air mattress for the kids, they expressed their gratitude.
There’s not a single person I hate. Is that strange? I’m sure to most people it may seem so, and I definitely would have said the same of this mindset a couple years ago. Now, however, I see it as the only logical outlook on life.
I’ve found that the main reason many people sink to the level of hatred is because of a lack of understanding. Few people understand that not a single person wants to be hated.
Nobody wants to be the bad guy. Nobody wants to be the person with no friends. Nobody wants to feel alone and unloved.
The actions of some may give off this impression but truthfully nobody wants to live like that. When we seek to understand the perspective of others instead of judging them we develop a greater understanding for why they act in the manner they do.
One of the more common beliefs these people hold is that they aren’t good enough. I held this belief for a number of years myself and with this belief came the feeling that nobody could love me for who I am.
These are twelve ideals that embody Friendship. They also support what it means to be Good so that we can focus on our core value, Be Good to have Good Friends.
These twelve pillars of friendship are a work in progress, and I’m looking for your help to vet them. Are there any you think don’t belong? Are there any additions that you think should be added? Are there any you would swap out with another word? Once I have the list finalized we’ll dig into more detail on each pillar.
Thank you for helping to shape Friendship Society, you can share your thoughts in the comment section below
To start a discussion on friendship we should look at what defines friendship and why it is necessary and good. For this we look to the great philosopher Aristotle. Many philosophers focus on theory and conjecture. I’m sure Aristotle did his fair share of this type of philosophy as well, but in his work Nicomachean Ethics he looked for a practical application of theories originally explored by Plato.
Aristotle wrote the Nicomachean Ethics (NE) in 350 BC. NE is full of great material on how to live a good life. At some point (when we have a larger audience here at Friendship Society) I’d like to host a read and discuss where we read a section each week and discuss it in the comments section. I think that would be a fun activity to share and would help us learn a great deal about how to be good and virtuous.
Today I want to talk about a portion of NE that covers friendship, specifically the section that discusses why we need friends and then looks at three types of friendship and defines one as the only true form of friendship. I think this well set us up well for all future discussions of friendship and all that is related.
We’ll begin by seeing what Aristotle has to say about why friendship is important.
Post number two of this new blog and I find I’m having trouble getting my thoughts into words. I have all this random friendship stuff floating around, yet it’s having trouble getting out of my head and onto paper in any intelligible fashion. I also have pages and pages of notes filled with topic ideas, and yet they aren’t magically transforming into brilliant articles.
Instead of starting where I thought I’d be starting I’m going to talk about my vision. In the last post I talked about my prophetic dream. Today I want to talk about a vision for the future. It’s not necessarily a vision for this blog, although that is a part of it. This is a vision for something that doesn’t really exist yet.
I have a vision of creating a church that isn’t about religion. That may sound strange at first, but read on and I hope it may make more sense.
I’m a regular guy in my late thirties. I have a wife and a seven year old daughter. I often think about what it takes to raise a child today. Not just the necessities of feeding, housing, and educating, but the more intangible items that will define her as a human being.
How do I teach her to be kind, caring, and compassionate? How do I teach her to treat others and interact with her peers and with those older and younger? How do I prevent the selfishness that seems to appear in abundance in today’s society?
Welcome to the Friendship Society. When I was a young boy I had a prophetic dream. My dream was short and simple, but the memory of this dream has remained with me for more than thirty years.
I stood in an industrial area. The lighting was dim and it was likely late in the day. In front of me stood an old wooden fence. Just in front of the fence was a dumpster. I climbed on top of the dumpster lid, and jumped over the fence. I walked around the corner of the fence and found a pile of old musty tarps. On top of the tarps was a book. The title of that book was "Friendship Society."
I've thought about that dream numerous times over the years. I felt in my heart that I am destined to do something with this title. I'd love to tell you that I finally figured it out... but it's still a work in progress.
I've kept an eye on the domain names over the years, and about a year and a half ago friendshipsociety.net became available. I snatched it up.
I've brainstormed about all the possibilities for the Friendship Society. I've thought about creating a local club or group, I've thought about writing a book, I've thought about blogging or creating a forum.