Sister Laurie Writes
Sr. Laurie Writes Book on Friendship
Review by Rhonda Miska, OP
“Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure” (Sirach 6:14). In her newest book, What Does the Bible Say about Friendship?, Laurie Brink, OP, proposes that our ultimate purpose is friendship with God, and that human friendships we experience show us the way to developing that friendship with God.
In addition to both the Old and New Testaments, Laurie also draws on sources ranging from Aristotle, St. Aelred of Rievaulx, and St. Thomas Aquinas as well as her own personal experiences in exploring the theme of friendship. The text is well researched but engaging and accessible, regardless of a reader’s level of biblical literacy or theological training. Each chapter ends with reflection practices or questions, which make the book a good resource for spiritual reading book clubs of faith-sharing small groups. This book is one in New City Press’ “What Does the Bible Say About . . . ?” series which explores various contemporary themes.
Laurie explores friendship within family, especially between parents and children, through the lens of Jesus’ relationship with his mother Mary. The chapter on friendship within marriage “after the honeymoon” draws on the examples of the search for the beloved in the Song of Songs and the relationship between Abraham and Sarah described in Genesis.
What happens when a friendship is broken? Laurie breaks open the Christian call to reconciliation through the Gospel accounts of Judas’ and Peter’s betrayal of Jesus, and invites us to reflect on where we are called to practice forgiveness in our relationships.
Though it is perhaps not the first thing we think of when we hear the word “friendship,” there is also the need for each of us to develop friendship with ourselves on our journey of faith. Befriending ourselves makes us free to befriend the world, argues Laurie, offering illustrations from her own experiences in ministry as well as the biblical figures of Moses, Hannah, and Paul.
The text culminates in the final chapter, “what a friend we have in Jesus: becoming friends of God.” Scripture offers us many images for God, and certainly God as a friend is a universal one, since we all experience human relationships. Laurie offers the vision of a “friendship with God that presumes we share with God the same desire, the same vision for the world and all of creation,” which moves in the direction of mutuality. Our experiences of trust, respect, care, passion, and fidelity within human friendships creates a map for the mature, fruitful Christian discipleship which is friendship with God.
What Does the Bible Say about Friendship? will be a valuable companion for any Christian seeking to learn more about friendship in Scripture as well as reflect on the meaning of their own friendships and their intimacy with God. The book is available in store or online at the Sinsinawa Book & Gift Gallery.