I am a bit biased because Wes Hill is a dear friend, but man! This essay of his in Comment about breaking up with a friend and choosing to build deep, intimate friendships with families is so good:

I spent my childhood and adolescence fixated on the kind of family I was certain was the only sort worth having: I wanted to be a husband and a father, one whose very identity was defined by permanent relationality. (You can’t stop being a father, and you shouldn’t, according to Jesus, stop being a husband once you’ve promised to be one.) Instead I’ve been given a different sort of family, one marked by promises of a sometimes-overlooked kind. When the married couple with whom I currently share a house and I sat down recently to be interviewed about our unusual living arrangement, we surprised even ourselves, I think, as we talked about how much the practice of godparenthood had reshaped our understanding of what family is. Before they had children of their own, my housemates, Aidan and Melanie, had become godparents to another couple’s son, with whom they had shared a home previously. They stood at the font as their friends’ baby was sprinkled with water and marked as Christ’s own forever, and they promised to help raise him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And soon thereafter, that baby’s parents would stand next to me at the font as Aidan and Melanie’s daughter was baptized, and we together—weaving an even thicker skein of commitment—made the same promises in relation to her. Biological and marital kinship, it turned out, had become the site around which a deeper, sacramental kinship would flourish, tying us all to one another not only by the well-known forms of conjugal and parental love but also by the sometimes less-celebrated form of voluntary devotion. We were, we felt, proving Jesus’s words true: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children.”

I can say with confidence that Wes lives this out in his life and has been a wonderful friend to our family. He has also written a great book about friendship (my review here) that explores many of these themes more deeply.

Posted by Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org

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