Oratory Cheek

Speeches from the great cheeky one.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Looking towards the redemption of all creation and trying to find myself whole and moving within it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Friend: Our Circle of Friends. Vol. 1 of 5

Genesis 1-2

Verses and Biblical context:

And the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him.”… So the Lord God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. He took one of Adam’s ribs and closed up the place from which he had taken it. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam. (Genesis 2:18, 21-22)

Story of the friendship between David and Jonathan

There’s a story of a prince, a young man readied to inherit his father’s throne, and his friend – a lowly, poor, animal-worker who was also a musician, teenager and giant-killer. This is a story of how their friendship and loyalty were greater than the son’s own desire to be the next king. And greater than his own father’s wishes. Because the prince, the giant-killer, and the king all knew that the giant-killer would be the next king if the common people, the military and God had anything to say about it.

So the king tried to kill the giant-killer. The prince talked him out of it—the first time. The prince didn’t know about the second assassination attempt against his friend. And when his friend told him, the prince could not believe his ears. So, he waited to see if the king would be upset if the giant-killer did not show up at a party where he was supposed to be murdered. The king was upset – very, very upset – and honestly told his son why:

“If David lives, he will be the king instead of you. Don’t you care? I’m doing this for you!”

Jonathan is, of course, upset. So upset that he doesn’t even finish his supper and runs away. Before Saul the king takes away his cell-phone, though, Jonathan runs to warn David and pledge his loyalty to him.

Three of Job’s friends were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to demonstrate their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words. (Job 2:11-13)

It’s a good and right thing to have friends and we see that right here in the beginning of the Bible, in the beginning of the story of our lives and where we meet with God. God himself goes through the effort of creating a friend for Adam.

But nearly every time I hear that section of scripture quoted, as a single adult male [who also happens to be attractive and witty], I feel slighted, like people are wagging fingers at me. “Get married... get married.” Come on, cut me some slack. It can’t possibly be that this passage says that every man needs a wifey, every woman needs a hubby. What strikes me here is that God says that it isn’t good for a man to be alone – not necessarily that it isn’t good for the man to not have his soul-mate, or to find a fine female with a fine figure, or someone to make him complete while emptying his wallet [which is, of course, what they do. Some men have said that for a woman to fulfill her purpose-driven life means that some man, somewhere, will go bankrupt]. But that’s what we’ve limited it to recently: Eve was a perfect soul-mate who fulfilled all of Adam’s longings and then, while he’s napping, she does the dishes and laundry. [Of course, laundry in those days was pretty light, ‘cuz y’know, they didn’t have any clothes.]

“It isn’t God for a man to be alone.” Adam was created perfect. The Lord created Adam in his own image and then said he was good. Yet, Adam was not complete on his own. Adam was a creature created to be aware of his needs. He breathed not because someone told him to, but he needed to and found it came easy. He also found that he needed companionship, camaraderie, friendship. Of course, Eve was a dime.

Adam and Eve filled the earth with other companions and later we see some great examples of friendship, including Jonathan and David. Job had just lost his family and his skin was completely covered in boils and scabs. Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar spent a whole week with Job in the middle of his misery without saying a thing. It’s for times such as those and times such as these that we were given friends.