Becoming Friends

Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship

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2003 Book Award Winner, Catholic Press Association

 

"Wadell's accessible style and use of examples from contemporary film and fiction make this book an apt choice for undergraduate courses and adult discussion groups."--Elizabeth A. Dreyer, Religious Studies Review

How do Christians understand friendship and intimacy? How does worship form Christians into a community of the friends of God? What virtues does God call us to incorporate into our lives? In Becoming Friends, Paul Wadell explores the connections between worship, justice, friendship, and the life we are called to live.

This engaging and accessible book offers a fresh viewpoint from which to explore the nature of Christian friendship. Such friendship, Wadell contends, is more than a bonding of people with similar interests, a "ritual of hopeless consolation." True Christian friendship summons us to love all of our neighbors. Wadell examines obstacles to and characteristics of true friendship and, drawing from the works of Augustine, Aelred of Rievaulx, and other Christian exemplars, contends that we are called to serve God through friendship and that this calling requires us to cultivate certain virtues--especially hope, justice, and forgiveness.

Becoming Friends offers a provocative look into the nature and importance of true Christian friendship. Anyone looking to reflect on the indispensable role of good friendships in the Christian life will find this a hopeful and encouraging book.


Endorsements

"Paul J. Wadell is among the most thoughtful and respected interpreters of Christian friendship. This work, like all his previous writing on the subject, is extraodinary for its insight, depth, and creativity."--Stephen G. Post, Case Western Reserve University

"Paul Wadell's Becoming Friends is a work of grace and skill that gently invites us into friendship with God and one another. As he invites us, Wadell also quietly guides us, showing us the virtues and practices we will need if we are to be good friends. Most profoundly, with care and humility, Wadell explores the connection between worship and friendship lying at the very heart of the church. For Christians in all walks, Becoming Friends will provide great help, both in naming what is already rich and good in their lives and churches, and in drawing them nearer in friendship to God and each other."--Charles R. Pinches, University of Scranton

"What a wonderful gift Paul Wadell has given us. In these pages, he enriches our imaginations by showing us both the gift that friendship is and the potentially transformative channel of God's grace that it might become if we were but freed from our culture's superficial and warped views of friendship. Filled with evocative examples and written with Wadell's remarkable blend of eloquence and humility, this is the kind of book that readers will return to again and again."--Philip D. Kenneson, Author of Life on the Vine

"Wadell transforms "friendship," a word we use so frequently, often in superficial ways, into a powerful, spiritual force. For Wadell, friendship at its depth must be expressed in forgiveness and social commitment. A compelling book that is masterful both in language and content."--John T. Pawlikowski, O.S.M, Ph.D., Catholic Theological Union

"The usefulness of Becoming Friends extends beyond the classroom. The congregational or parish pastor will be richly rewarded for spending time with this book. The style is accessible, but the content continually challenges us to think creatively about church life."--Joseph J. Kotva Jr. is the pastor of First Mennonite Church, Allentown PA

"Friendliness is not just next to Godliness; it is Godliness. When friendship is properly practiced, it in large part describes God's relationship to the world and certainly our relationships with each other. Wadell traces the threads of Aquinas's careful treatment of the theme and weaves in his own insights. The result is a well-written, well-argued, as well as warm and friendly book on a topic that most North Americans only think they understand."--Frederick W. Norris, Emmanuel School of Religion

"This book, like a true friend, challenges us toward a deeper love for all that is good. Gentle, yet simultaneously powerful, the book embodies the virtues it commends. Paul Wadell's writing and insights make us yearn for richer expressions of friendship with God and others even as he helps us to cherish what we already have. While theologically and morally substantive, this exploration of Christian friendship is also wonderfully practical and accessible."--Christine D. Pohl, author ofMaking Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition


The Author

  1. Paul J. Wadell

    Paul J. Wadell

    Paul J. Wadell is associate professor of religious studies at St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin. His previous works include Friendship and the Moral Life, Friends of God: The Primacy of Love, and Morality.

    Continue reading about Paul J. Wadell

Reviews

2003 Book Award Winner, Catholic Press Association

"A provocative and engaging look into the nature and importance of true Christian friendship, Becoming Friends shows us that we are called to serve God through friendship and that this calling requires us to cultivate hope, justice and forgiveness. Anyone looking to reflect on the indispensable role of friendship in the Christian life will find this book hopeful and encouraging."--Christian Retailing

"While books on Christian relationships abound, Becoming Friends make a distinctive contribution to that body of writing. The author powerfully reminds readers that our first and foremost friendship, the one that undergirds all others, is with God--a profound point that other books tend to overlook. . . . . Well worth the read for any Christian leader."--Dr. Cynthia Chertos, Congregations

"This volume is a convincing reminder of the beauty and value of friendship. . . . Wadell's accessible style and use of examples from contemporary film and fiction make this book an apt choice for undergraduate courses and adult discussion groups."--Elizabeth A. Dreyer, Religious Studies Review

"[This book] help[s] us examine the nature of friendship and understand why it is one of the paradigm relationships used to depict a Christian life. . . . Wadell offers what we might consider a Catholic perspective on friendship, emphasizing how worship done rightly shapes us in ways that go far deeper than mere intellectual assent. . . . Wadell offer[s] a refreshing alternative; [he] explore[s] the nature and purpose of deeper friendships and thus help[s] us consider whether the friends we have in our lives are the types of friends we need to cultivate. . . . Wadell makes the strong claim that friendship should ultimately be oriented toward justice."--Ruth E. Groenhout, Christian Reflection