The Virtue of Friendship
Rating: 5.00

Cultures the world over, like the ancient Greeks and Romans and the medieval Brits, have taken friendship seriously. C. S. Lewis says that some philosophers classified friendship as a virtue. Yet today, our culture places less emphasis on the importance of friendship than, say, developing business contacts, or some other casual buddy. 

A true friendship is like a garden; it grows over time. I'm a very lucky person because I have a number of deep friendships, people who share some of the same interests that I have.  

And with the advent of the Internet and this relatively newfangled thing called a blog, I have made friends with people I otherwise would have never gotten the opportunity to meet. People who are quite different from me, but share similar interests. I treasure my friends here for their wit, wisdom and kindness. I've learned a lot through their responses.

This kind of friendship isn't really newfangled at all. Many people who've gone before us developed friendship through correspondence, like Flannery O'Connor's friendship with Hazel Elizabeth "Betty" Hester. While Flannery and Hester eventually met a time or two, most of their friendship and intellectual discussion was conducted by letter.

Like Flannery and "Betty," sometimes the corresponding friends do get to meet. After knowing him via BreakPoint Blog for around six years, last Sunday, Gina, Anne, and I got a chance to meet LeeQuod. We talked about a wide range of topics, about shared interests; we got to know each other better. 

In contemplating the delight of meeting Lee, I thought further about what the importance of the BreakPoint Blog: This is where we get to meet people, developing friendships with people who will  support, admonish, advise, and entertain us as we work through our faith with fear and trembling. 


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"Granted, Princess Eloise speaks more like Miss Jane Austen and less like swashbuckling sea-dogs. However, early in the movie she does look for her cutlass to go to the aid of her brother when he is being taken by the pirates."

Actually, Jane Austen was the type of woman that tended to marry swashbuckling sea dogs. Settling down in a nice country house in England subsidized by the French Empire.
Hey! I can give caring, loyal, friendship and even a sense of humor. I'll have to pass on the mountain bike though.
Jason and Kevin, thanks for adding laughter to my day!
Kevin, Philosophy was always a full contact event. Doesn't seem to have helped.
Oops, I forgot to add:

Kevin, congratulations on your recent engagement! May you and your future wife do a better job of glorifying God through your marriage than we have done.

We were both rather confused on the grander purpose of marriage when we started out 15 years ago this past August 31st. Todd wasn't even a Christian at the time and my faith was on pilot light rather than full furnace. However, we have the Perfect Teacher who has been unfailingly patient and gentle with us. I thank God my husband has put up with so much immaturity from me. A man more steeped in the current throwaway culture probably would have traded me in for a new model by now.
Well, gentlemen, my initial attraction to my mate didn't have anything to do with full-contact (I said *initial* attraction), steroids, grunting, 'attitude', nor a musical instrument, nor a motorcycle. Well, it wasn't a motorcycle, but it was a cycle: a bicycle. He took me out for mountain bike rides and was infinitely patient during my novitiate in that sport. What attracted me initially was his calm, steadfast demeanor; his caring, loyal friendship -- which continued when informed that I was not romantically inclined *at all* at that point in my life -- and, yes, his sense of humor.

And then there was the day his computer wizardry saved this English Literature major's paper from a corrupt floppy disk. Remember those? There were three *ultra*geeky computer geeks at his roommate's computer.

"You saved my paper!" I happily exclaimed.

"Take me away and call me your Hero," he replied.


The three (other) geeks were agog at seeing their dream come true for one of their own.

But actually, Todd is a far more balanced person than most computer geeks. He actually knows how to go outside and play in the sun and likes to do so, especially when dragging someone else along too.
I understand, Jason. And as a fellow Philosophy student, I find it a continual surprise that this doesn't make us more attractive. :-)

Perhaps if we could somehow make it into a full-contact event, maybe introduce steroids, grunting and 'attitude' into the mix...?

I used to have a fully-prepared, well-manicured rant prepared about the characteristics that are alleged to be attractive (sense of humor, musical instrument, motorcycle, etc.), but having recently gotten engaged, I've had occasion to jettison that particular rant. (I retain several others, however!)
That's funny, Kevin. I have not noticed that being able to do philosophy has made females think me an attractive mating partner.
Well, Lee, I was thinking less along the lines of "La Pirata" (as "Cutthroat Island" was called in Spanish):
and more along the lines of Princess Eloise:

Granted, Princess Eloise speaks more like Miss Jane Austen and less like swashbuckling sea-dogs. However, early in the movie she does look for her cutlass to go to the aid of her brother when he is being taken by the pirates.
Lee, those are marvelous quotes from Lewis. I quote the first one fairly often, that "you have never met an 'ordinary' person." I think it's always good to remind younger Xns about the true value of EVERYONE with whom they interact, no matter on what basis.

And as for the survival value of Philosophy, Art, etc.-- working with committed evolutionists as I do, I have to wonder what possible way they can justify the existence of these things. One might say, "Well, it made those who could do these things more attractive to potential mating partners," but doesn't that presuppose that the potential mating partners had to have that kind of latent appreciation in the first place?
Don't worry, Lee. Whether or not Ellen desires my head, I doubt she could handle a bat'lithe well enough to remove it.

Of course I cannot handle a bat'lithe either. I do not even own one. I do own an eighteen inch short sword though, which my brother gave to me after honestly acquiring it from a vendor at the Highland Games. Of course you can take "honestly" for granted, seeing as no one would ever try to rob that particular vendor.
No, Milady, it's quite impossible to imagine you ever seriously desiring the actual removal of Jason's head.

But it's easy to imagine you enjoying the sight of him *worrying* that you might. ;-)

Sigh - now I have stuck in my mind's eye the transformation in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series of Keira Knightley's character, from corset-choked fine lady to swashbuckling pirate. So not the Queen of Hearts and her "Off with his head!" empty threat, but rather "I'll make you walk the plank!" Equally empty...

...we hope. :-)
Well, lots of hew-mans converted to Christianity, and take away their sonic showers and put them in a tight place and hew-mans become as vicious as any Klingon. Have faith, Lee!

Still a race whose idea of a marriage is reciting how the male and female Klingon teamed up to plunder Sto-vo-kor and whose idea of a joyous wedding night is for the bride and groom to beat each other to a pulp will make interesting converts.

Perhaps the motto should be: "Today is a good day to repent!"
Argh!! Avast, ye scalawag! How dare ye attempt to divert me from me present course! I suppose ye'd like to see me drift in aimless intellectual wanderings all me seafaring days -- never setting the sails or taking hold of the helm to steer a true course to reach worthwhile waypoints along the path of The Way of the True Master. Take hold of the scoundrel, me hearties! Time to quarantine those nimble fingers in the hold.

(Have I mentioned the Todd and I lived on a sailboat for eight years? Perhaps that M stands for Mariner.)
Yes, Jason, I knew of that translation, and I continue to await news of any Klingon conversions to Christianity.

Regarding "meek", I like your suggestion. Alternatives would include "obedient" or "aligned with authority".

Since Milady is likely reading this, I'll mention that the problem of translating not just the words but also the meanings of the Bible into a new culture is a fascinating problem indeed. Books on this topic to add to some list, possibly Winter's, would include Don Richardson's "Peace Child" and "Eternity in Their Hearts".
Now, Lee, would I ever consider taking Jason's head off? Perhaps figuratively, but (I hope) never literally.

On the other hand, Woe to whomever dares to hurt to hurt my children.
Speaking of that Lee, did you know their is a Klingon translation of the Bible?
Someone on TvTropes asked if there was a Klingon word for "meek", and I pointed out that they must have a word for "disciplined" and that would probably suffice.
Hmmm, I hadn't pictured you as a KJV man, Jason, but no matter. Here's the NIV (which is the lowest common denominator when referring to the Bible in a public forum such as the Breakpoint Blog):

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"

I see the New King James also has "fear". The NASB has "reverence" but gives "fear" as an alternate. Phillips has "reverent", the New Century has "respect", and thee New Living Translation has "respectful". Since this is Kim's posting, the New Jerusalem Bible has "courtesy and respect", while the New American Bible has "reverence" but the Douay-Rheims has "fear".

The original Greek has not changed ("φοβου", from whence we get "phobia"), but the meaning we English-speaking people put into words like "fear" has changed over time. So what the KJV said to a reader in Shakespeare's day may be what the NIV says to a modern reader.

My favorite is The Message's "utmost courtesy".

But, Mr. Taylor, as a Protestant I feel it's ultimately your choice as an individual; if you believe you must only address Ellen "with meekness and fear", I will not stop you. ;-)

And I jest, imagining you cowering before a lady whom you've already razzed extensively, while she ponders aloud "Hmmm - off with his head,... or not?" But in your defense, it's worth noting what C.S. Lewis said in "The Weight of Glory":

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."

But rather than leave this comment on such a deep and slightly melancholy note, I'll also quote Lewis from "The Four Loves", rather like Kim referred to Lewis originally:

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival."

As one who travels an enormous amount and therefore has trouble having face-to-face friendships, I'll heartily agree with Lewis and again stress the value of all of you, bloggers and commenters, as my friends.
"I often wonder how our relations would be different, both with unbelievers and also amongst ourselves, if we took seriously the "respect" part of 1 Pet. 3:15."

Compare: 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Do you have the right verse Lee?
Oh, Rolley... are you tempting me to a whole 'nother -- yet to be discovered by me -- area of history and learning? My reading list is currently closed to new additions. Some of the books I've recently purchased aren't even on my written reading list and I've already have more books on my Amazon Wish List.

I discovered Wikipedia page for William of Ockham. I began to read, but without understanding Occam's razor, I ceased to read as I feared I might fall down a rabbit hole and never find my way back again.

If I didn't find my way back, I'd be shirking my current responsibilities. My daughter certainly isn't thinking of me as any kind of Milady at the moment. I really need to get a shirt with the words "OGRE MOMMY" on it, or a button I could pin on any shirt. I'm currently the kiddy jailer of said daughter; she refused to do her chores so she's spending the rest of the day in her room sans books. We do allow her out for eating food, drinking water and emitting water.

Lee, I guess your references to spending time in the South -- and I think you mentioned relatives who live there? -- combined with your never failing chivalry caused me to think you had been raised in the South. I've never been there myself. I'm a SoCal girl who had the good sense to get away and the good blessing to meet my husband at college who has kept me away.
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