By Paul Koch –
“If our master, by force or by propaganda about ‘Togetherness’ or by unobtrusively making privacy and unplanned leisure impossible, even succeed in producing a world where all are Companions and none are Friends, they will have removed certain dangers, and will also have taken from us that is almost our strongest safeguard against complete servitude.” – C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”
Friendship is, at its core, a rebellion.
I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about this blog; about what we’re trying to do, about how we started, and where we are going. To be honest the questions of “What we are trying to do?” and “Where we are going?” are not always easily answerable. The answers to those questions seem to be somewhat fluid and these days I imagine that different authors on The Jagged Word would answer them differently. Our agenda here (if you can call it that) doesn’t exactly promote a unified vision. The agenda is to give the authors freedom to write; freedom to inspire and enrage, freedom to be boring and aimless, but, in the end, they are free to find their own voice in the shifting mess that is church and world.
The unifying core that gives shape to it all, the one thing that has been the root of our success and will ultimately direct where we will go, is the powerful and unpredictable thing we call “friendship.”
Perhaps more than anything else, when you read this blog, what you are witnessing week in and week out is the result of friendship. All the writers are not only people whom I trust, but also people that I’ve sat in bars into the early morning hours with, argued theology and life with, laughed out loud with, confessed with, and worshipped alongside of. The Jagged Word doesn’t have a governing board or a mission statement or a strategic growth plan. Instead, we have the unpredictable victories and failures that flow from friendship.
So it turns out the question of how we started is actually the key to try and understand where we are going and what we are trying to accomplish. I’m privileged to be able to call these authors my friends. In fact, I believe friendship is a rare and valuable commodity. Most of us have very few true friends, few whom we can actually trust when the shit hits the fan and we need a shoulder to cry on or a drink placed in our hands. Friends are not “yes men;” they are not people you always agree with. A friend may be an inspirational example, a role model, and cheerleader; then again they may be a drunkard or a heretic, but a friend won’t abandon you, no matter where you fall on the spectrum.
The nature of friendship means it is not easily controlled by outside forces seeking to bring order and uniformity. Friendships have at its core a spirit of rebellion against those who would control by shame on the one hand and pride on the other.
Friendship has a nasty habit of continuing when everyone else is screaming for it to stop. It endures even when it doesn’t make much sense to do so. And yet what we have found on The Jagged Word is that there is a place for this beautiful rebellion in the conversations that matter. In fact, the unpredictability of friendship has found an extension in our readers. Through your comments, your shares, likes and dislikes you have engaged in the rebellion. You help to shape where this is all going.
The Jagged Word is not the party line. We don’t peer review our work or send it through doctrinal review. We submit it just like we would in the back corner of the bar. It can be raw and wrong, or it can be powerful, transformative, and orthodox; but it is never driven by some other directive greater than our friendship. Well, friendship and whatever happens to inspire or piss us off at that particular moment.
I’m proud of what this site has become, and I honestly have no idea where it will go, but I am thrilled to find out and couldn’t be more overjoyed that you’ve joined the rebellion.
But truth be told, even if you didn’t join us I doubt we would stop – such is friendship.