May 30, 2009

Class Distinctions in Friendship

From the cutting room floor, so to speak: a paragraph that won’t make it into a new blog series I’m preparing:
In this world, friendship is based on mutual benefit, depending on class. At the poverty level, folks depend more on family and spend most of their resources on family members. That is, until they have no family left, in which case poor folks adopt one another from a sheer need to survive. Middle class folks (who have virtually no counterpart in the ancient world) generally choose friends based on common interests, but share with them only leisure time and surplus resources (relatively speaking). Tough times test middle class friendships because family still trumps when the chip-stack is down. The wealthy, however, keep friends on a whole other level. Charity is performed dutifully, but the valuable friendships are where you really get to trade off significant favors. Having so much to protect means you choose your friends very carefully. Thus, all friendship is really a luxury, and wealth based friendships prove the strongest human bonds are based on mutual benefit.
For more fascinating facts on class distinctions, read Ruby Payne. By the way, IMHO, church groups can stand as exceptions to all of these patterns, but sadly not as often as we’d like or wish. Of course, religious charity as a laying up for personal reward in heaven doesn’t actually break these rules at all. Love without needing love? Only GOD can do that. Or, perhaps also, Christ in His Body. Amen?

Anyway, as you can tell, the upcoming series has something to do with my thoughts on “friendship”. It also has to do with the relationship between Jesus and Peter in John 21. You won't want to miss it...

Stay tuned!

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