SPECIAL EPISODE: SAFESPACE CHAT

ON SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP

But love is lost; the way of friendship’s gone,
Though David had his Jonathan, Christ his John.
—George Herbert

But love is lost; the way of friendship’s gone,
Though David had his Jonathan, Christ his John.
—George Herbert

Unlike romantic relationships or the bonds between siblings, friendship is entirely voluntary and uncoerced. We choose our friends and we may choose to end a friendship at any time. Sounds precarious? You bet. But precisely for that reason, friendship is precious- our friends are the ones we have decided to have and to keep.

“Every friendship is formed around shared goods that identify the friendship and help the friends understand the life and purpose of the friendship. In spiritual friendship the principal good is a mutual love for Christ and a desire to grow together in Christ. This is what distinguishes spiritual friendship from other relationships. In spiritual friendships the friends are centred in Christ, they seek Christ, and they strive to live according to Christ. Through their friendship they want to help one another live a godly and holy life. They want each other to be resplendent in goodness.” —Paul J. Wadell

And this was similarly echoed in his treatise On Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx, a 12th-century Cistercian abbot who mentioned that spiritual friendship is one where friends are jointly responding to God’s call by loving him and loving their neighbour.

But how do we go about ‘spiritual friendship’? How does one begin? What is the nature of true Christian friendship? How essential are spiritual friends anyway?

This April, Safespace continues the theme of friendship with this candid conversation between two good buddies, reminiscing how their friendships in Christ had blossomed over the years. As we listen, let us allow their conversations underscore the necessity for each of us to foster friendship as a basic component of Christian discipleship.

Guests:

Dr. Tan Soo-Inn

A popular author and preacher, Dr Tan Soo-Inn is a Director of Graceworks, a ministry committed to promoting spiritual friendship in church and society. Ready to be a dentist after being trained in Singapore, he answered God’s call to go into full-time church-related ministry in 1981 and obtained his Master of Theology from Regent College, Vancouver, Canada, in 1984. In 2006, he obtained his Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, California. His primary passions include connecting the word of God to the struggles of daily life, and the promotion of the discipline of spiritual friendship. And football fans alert – he’s an Arsenal supporter since 1971! He is also a Star Wars fan.

Rev. Dr. Sivin Kit

Founding pastor of Bangsar Lutheran Church since 2000, Sivin lectures at the Malaysian Theological Seminary (STM) after obtaining his PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Society with the University of Agder, Norway. Also Director of STM’s Centre for Religion and Society, He is an active supporter of Malaysian civil society and is involved in interreligious engagement.