[su_note note_color=”#d5d5d5″ text_color=”#91201f”]The following is the Letter from the Editor for Volume 4, Issue 8 of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine: “Friends 4Ever.” You can subscribe to Christ and Pop Culture Magazine by becoming a member and you’ll receive a host of other benefits as well.[/su_note]

Community is a big deal in Christian circles. We have groups for everything: Bible study, accountability, moms, singles, marrieds, books, games, art, writing, discipleship, parenting, and more. From social to serious, groups for almost every niche can be found at our churches.

Despite the vast number of groups to choose from, loneliness is still a common complaint. For all our community, depth of friendship is rarity. There is a longing to be known and to know others, but it doesn’t come easy. We need to see healthy friendships modeled. We need to practice bearing each other’s burdens and laying down our own life for others. And we need to exchange lots of grace.

In this issue of the Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, the value and beauty of friendship is explored through three features and three support pieces. Each one highlights a different aspect of the art of friendship. First we hear from W. David O. Taylor in “Bono, Eugene Peterson, and the Vocation of Friendship.” His work on the film project involving these two men taught Taylor much about being a friend:

“People have asked me what the best thing was about this project. Getting to hear Bono sing in person? Praying with him? Eating [Jan Peterson’s] cookies? Chewing the fat with Eugene on his dock? What was it? My answer: friendship.”

I appreciate Taylor’s reminder that fame doesn’t erase the need for friends; it may even intensify it. We are not made to walk this life as lone rangers, but to lean upon each other and find strength in the care of friendship. This is the point Allison Barron makes in her article, “The Morgan Grimes Theory”:

“The strength that comes from friendship is the grounding force that gives me the courage to do what I otherwise could not, that enables me to persevere through circumstances that I otherwise could not.”

I’ve found life’s difficulties are made bearable by the friends who have my back and surround me with hope when dark stretches find me. In “Finding Our Hopefuls When Caught by Giant Despair,” Nana Dolce speaks to the reality of our frail frames:

“If the sinless Savior desired community in a time of suffering, how much more do we need friends?”

Our need for friends is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of our humanity. We become more like Jesus when we invest ourselves in others and allow them to invest in us. And it’s not just a matter of being social; we need to know others and be known, walking in the light of fellowship in a way that grows, sustains, and nourishes our souls. We trust these articles will help you in that process.

—Erin Straza

Erin Straza (Managing Editor, CAPC Magazine and Host, CAPC Persuasion Podcast) is the director of marketing and communications for Spread Truth. She is crafting her first book for InterVarsity Press (Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from the Habits That Bind You, January 2017), writing from the Illinois flatlands where she lives with her husband, Mike.

Illustration courtesy of Seth T. Hahne. Check out Seth’s graphic novel and comic review site, Good Ok Bad.