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In HOPE - Faculty Publications

  In HOPE 8.1  

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

If the idea of spiritual friendship or spiritual direction speaks to your heart, you might like to read David Benner's Sacred Companions (IVP, 2002: 240 pages). Benner writes insightfully and offers practical and realistic suggestions for this nurturing of the soul.


Welcome to "In HOPE" for 2008. This is the first issue of the year and I look forward to sharing the journey of faith with you once again. I am doubly blessed to also have sabbatical leave from the University for the next four months, a period dedicated to reading and writing. May your year be filled with the Lord's Presence ... and a spiritual friend or two.


Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"The ancients viewed friendship as the crown of life, the fulfillment of all that is distinctively human. Moderns all too often assess its value primarily in terms of its usefulness for achieving material ends (friends as business contacts) or minimizing boredom and loneliness (friends as people to kill time with)." - David Benner, Sacred Companions, p.61

Spiritual Friends

We don't do friendship well. Acquaintances? Fine. Work colleagues? No problem. Fellow church members? Easy. But friendships? Many of us-especially men-are inept, incompetent, and insecure.

The pace of our lives and demands on our days provide a screen to hide behind. In reality, the stress and chaos with which we live betrays our relegation of friendship. We devote ourselves to accumulating things or reputations while we neglect the soul's deepest yearning. Indeed, the relative ease with which we walk in and out of most relationships should shock us.

Who among us would describe friendship as "the crown of life"?

We may toil to build networks or even ministries. In our purest moments we may devote ourselves to help another person; build a shelter for the homeless, stock a pantry for the hungry, mow a yard for the inform, or give money to the destitute. The crown of life for the most altruistic among us often boils down to a good feeling of service to others and perhaps to hear our own children claim the name of Christ. But friendship?

Friendship is not the luxury of stay-at-home moms or the independently wealthy. We ought not "grow out of it" when we enter the workforce or start families. Nor can we discard it as an unattainable idealism for our present. Rather, this elusive "crown" is offered to all of us...as we offer ourselves to it.

And of all friendships, can anything transcend the joy of spiritual friendship?

David Benner describes a spiritual friend simply as a person who helps another discern the voice and Presence of God in their lives. We can value our football friends, quilting friends, skiing friends, and service friends, but spiritual friends are a crown indeed.

From eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have enjoyed a sublime friendship and, remarkably, they invite us into that intimate circle. Jesus says to His disciples, "You are My friends. I call you friends because I have made known to you...My Father." (Jn 15:14-15)

This year, to whom might you be a spiritual friend? With whom might you enter the trinitarian circle more deeply? May the Lord lead you to such a crown.

In HOPE --



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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.