BECOMING FRIENDS: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship

Paul J. Wadell, Author . Brazos $14.99 (186p) ISBN 978-1-58743-051-0

While this book and its chapter titles promise challenging insights about the nature of Christian friendship, Wadell only occasionally gets beyond platitudes and statements of the obvious. Everything he says rings true, and a few of his observations provoke thought and self-examination, but he almost never moves from stating evident truths (e.g., "friendship should not be self-serving") to providing strategies for living these truths. He begins by challenging readers to worship authentically, thereby risking true friendship with God. This could be a provocative idea, but it doesn't go anywhere. Instead, Wadell gets bogged down in restatement of this thesis. This unfortunately happens in other chapters, such as those about the goodness of friendship and the importance of justice. Some chapters promise analysis and exegesis of the work of other authors, such as Aelred of Rievaulx and Augustine, but in these Wadell does little more than summarize. These shortcomings are regrettable, because he correctly identifies many of the barriers to intimacy that we have constructed in contemporary society, such as our addiction to busyness and unwillingness to be troubled by the needs of others. Such flaws obviously grieve him, and he wants the church (he writes to all Christians, but most specifically to his fellow Catholics) to create a radical counterculture in which true love and friendship abound. This book would have been well served by generous helpings of detailed stories of Christian friendship in action, but contains only a few brief and superficial illustrations. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/27/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Open Ebook - 978-1-58558-586-1
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