There is an interesting little deal about the state of friendship in our culture over at Christianity Today. Here are a couple of exerpts:
As of 2004, the average American had just two close friends, compared with three in 1985. Those reporting no confidants at all jumped from 10 percent to 25 percent. Even the share of Americans reporting a healthy circle of four or five friends had plunged from 33 percent to just over 15 percent.
And it ends with a good poke at Christians in America today:
One wonders what it would take for the church, the new community, the friends of Jesus (John 15), to hold equal fascination for our lonely culture. To draw our culture to Christ, evangelical churches spend enormous amounts of money on slick marketing materials, enormous amounts of creative energy crafting "authentic" worship, and enormous amounts of intellectual capital on postmodernizing the faith. We're not convinced these strategies get to the heart of our cultural malaise.
Perhaps another "strategy" is in order. What if church leaders mounted a campaign to encourage each of their members to become friends, good friends, with one unchurched person this year?
Oh, but that would require so much commitment, sacrifice, and humility! Exactly.
Exactly - deep committed friendships with folks outside of the church sounds like a loving your neighbor kind of thing to me.