Some Thoughts On Kanye West

What are we to make of the conversion of Kanye? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few weeks ago there was a lot of conversation going on about Kanye West’s new album “Jesus Is King” and his appearing on various talk shows. I did hear some of the album. Some of it is catchy, but it’s really not my style of music.

I was also pleased to hear him make statements such as denouncing pornography on his staff. This is a very bold claim to make in our day and age. When I see statements like this, it makes me more inclined to treat the conversion seriously.

I also do love the idea of the message getting out there that Jesus is king. We often hear of Jesus being savior, what a friend we have in Jesus, and sometimes Jesus as Lord, but even Lord can seem like a distant term at times. King is one we do understand. Jesus has a position of authority as king. Saying Jesus is king is a challenge to all of us out there who want to be the kings of our own lives, which is everyone of us.

On the other hand, he did get to speak recently at Lakewood Church, the church of Joel Osteen. We can say on the positive that he is probably more informed than their regular preacher. I also have heard that he has said we all believe the same gospel and included Mormons in that, which if so, I flatly disagree with.

So what are we to think about all of this?

First, as great as it is that Kanye has a platform if he is real, we have to remember that new Christians are not to be put in positions of authority. Even Paul after his conversion spent three years in the wilderness working out his theology. He had to earn the right to be the gentile to the apostles even after his calling by Christ Himself.

Second, we need to get past the mindset of the celebrity Christian. It’s great if we have some Christians in the public eye who are excellent examples of Christianity, but we should never base our faith on them. If your Christianity depends on them or even someone like William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, Edward Feser, Gary Habermas, Ravi Zacharias, or anyone else, then insofar as it depends on them, it does not depend on Jesus.

That’s also why saying that you aren’t a Christian because of all the hypocrites is really a flimsy reason. All Christians, myself included, could bear to act better, but we are not the basis of Christianity. Yes. They will know we are Christians by our love, but they will know Christianity is true by Jesus.

With celebrity Christians, we can put too much pressure on them and they are often not ready for that. There are a number of younger stars, think of Disney kids for example, who get famous at a young age and become addicted to that fame and do not know how to handle that fame. When it leaves them, life becomes meaningless to them. Sometimes, this has resulted in suicide.

We also think that because someone is a great singer, they should be a brilliant theologian. I won’t deny that someone who is traveling and singing Christian music should take their theology seriously, but I don’t expect them to be a scholar either. They have their own craft. I do hope they make their songs theologically deep, but I can’t control that.

So in my opinion, at this point, Kanye should not be given a pulpit. You can have him come to your church and sing some songs and maybe give a testimony even, but I wouldn’t have him give the message. Kanye, if a true Christian, needs to be discipled like any other Christian would be.

This gets us to something we can all do. We should all pray for Kanye. If you think he is fake, then pray that he comes to Jesus. If you think he is real, then pray that good Christians who can lovingly disciple him will come into his life and pray for the impact he can have and that he will stand strong at the onslaught that is going to come to him.

But remember, the only Christian you can really directly influence is you. Don’t spend so much time on Kanye that you neglect your own house. Build that the best you can.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

If Cats Were Philosophers…

What would happen if felines held a symposium? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of you who are friends of my wife and I on Facebook might have seen us posting last week about our cat Shiro. I noticed recently that he wasn’t eating like he should be. He was normal in all other respects, but not really touching his food. We took him to the vet one day who tried to do some work but, well, Shiro isn’t that cooperative at the vet. (Fun fact. Playing a Catholic chant a friend sent us on the way calms him down which means I’m Protestant, my wife leans Orthodox, and our cat is apparently Catholic, or is that CATholic?)

The vet suspected it was a dental issue and we scheduled to bring him back the next day. Both days we had to catch him and put him in his kitty carrier which he was not happy about at all. The second day, they kept him for most of the day including some anesthesia so they could look at his teeth.

For the next couple of days, I was concerned. I noticed he wasn’t eating and he was sometimes vomiting and his litter box stunk more than usual. Through an app, I contacted a clinic that told me that it was at this point normal. Shiro had had some anesthesia and this can be a side-effect and now was not the time to worry. He was right. This morning, Shiro was right there when I woke up and wanting his breakfast.

Whenever this happens, I wonder what it would be like if cats were philosophers. What if Shiro is sitting at the vet while we’re away and pondering what is going on around him? What would he be saying?

“I could have sworn these people said they loved me, but this sure doesn’t seem like love to me! Why would these people put me in this enclosure where I cannot roam free and take me to this place? All these people I don’t know want to prod me and stick these sharp objects in me. I don’t know what they want. How can I trust them? These people who claim they love me meanwhile just sit by the side and watch and do nothing.”

I can easily picture a symposium of cats getting together talking about the evils of those put over them. All of them writing papers on how the evil overlords do not really love them and care for them. After all, why would they allow them to go through with something like this? (Especially getting fixed. Ouch!)

Every time we have to take Shiro to the vet, I ponder this. When we got him home, we had to give him some medicine from a syringe. My wife would hold him and I would try to squirt it in his mouth when she tried to open it. It certainly wasn’t easy. It’s not easy either when we have to give him his monthly flea medicine, but that at least doesn’t require forcing his mouth open.

I often ponder that I wish there was a way I could explain it to him, but the knowledge level between a cat and a human being is vast. It cannot really be bridged. We think in categories that cats cannot.

Yet at the same time, the questions I think Shiro could ask are often the questions we, including myself, can ask of God when evil takes place? The cat could say “If I was a human, I would not do this,” but we as humans know better. This is for Shiro’s good.

The difference between us and God is far greater than cats and ourselves. This is one reason evil really can get me emotionally, but doesn’t really persuade me as a problem for theism. If I have strong arguments that God exists and Jesus was raised from the dead, then I just have to accept evil as it is. I don’t understand the reality of it and I should fight against it, but it doesn’t really count against God for me.

And when we get set to take Shiro to the vet, I wish he would just be calm and trust us and when he’s there, I wish he’d do the same.

Maybe I should do the same with someone who knows better too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Do Protestants Have A Problem With Works?

Is works salvation really a major issue today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday at a Bible Study at the Orthodox Church my wife attends, we were going through Revelation 14 and I heard the priest get to the verse about those who die in the Lord for they will rest and their works will follow them. He remarked that Protestants have a problem with this verse. For me, I was sitting right there as the Protestant in the room and thinking, “I don’t have a problem with it.” I don’t know how we could get statistics on how many Protestants might have a problem with it, but I figured it could be something interesting to write on.

I think those of us who are Protestants have rightly emphasized salvation by grace through faith. It cannot be earned. It is a gift. It is not wages that are given out because we are good boys and girls.

So when I see this verse in Revelation, I think it means the work that the person has done immediately is done. They themselves will work no more, but the effects of what they have done will live on. Why would that be a problem?

If we go back to the Reformation, I am convinced the Protestants had the better arguments, but their exegesis was still not the best overall. Now I think there’s more evidence that what is being discussed in Galatians is not if salvation is by works or if it is by grace. It is instead being discussed what is the identity marker of if one is a Christian? Is it keeping the Law, i.e. circumcision, or is it faith in Christ?

If we’re Protestants, we shouldn’t balk when we hear works being talked about. Works are great and wonderful things. Picture a man who goes to an altar one day next to a woman he loves and says, “I do.” Then he goes back home to his parents and stays there. He never interacts with his wife or has sex with her or provides for her or anything, but he insists that he is married. We would all seriously question that one.

If you are a Christian, then along the way you ought to show the signs that you are a Christian. If you are not producing any fruit at all, we have reason to doubt your Christianity. This shouldn’t be a problem. It’s abundant in Scripture. Christ says He who abides in Him will produce much fruit. Ephesians 2:8-9 is followed by a verse saying that we are saved by grace through faith and the very next verse talks about the works that we do. While James 2 is often misunderstood, it is certainly right in the emphasis on how important works are and I would argue that James is talking about justification before men and not before God.

While I do think the comment yesterday might have been exaggerated, we who are Protestants do not need to shy away from doing good works and we need sermons on the importance of doing good works. Again, none of this is so that we can be Christians. We do good works because we are Christians and we have a job to do. We are to do the Great Commission.

It still is a tragedy to me today that there are three branches of Christianity today and I do look forward to the unity of all three one day. Still, we should all agree on the importance of doing good works. If a tree doesn’t produce any fruit, we can rightly speculate that the tree is dead. If we do not produce any fruit in our Christian walk, people can rightly speculate that our faith is dead.

Again, I don’t know how many Protestants really do have a problem with the passage, but we shouldn’t. We should be greatly emphasizing the importance of doing good works. Those start with loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks The Male Brain

What do I think of William Struthers’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Women are beautiful. Seriously. If the only evidence I had for the existence of God was my wife’s beauty, I would say the case is closed. I honestly can understand why some men get obsessed with pornography. We want to see beautiful women and they are such a mystery to us.

Pornography seems like an easy fix then. You get to see women and you get to experience their beauty. You don’t really harm anyone either. Right? What’s the harm.

Struthers writes that there is a great deal of harm. I want to stress at the start that I know pornography is becoming more of a problem for women as well and Struthers would not deny that I’m sure, but his main focus is writing about men. Men are often the ones who are much more the pursuers when it comes to sexual love and men don’t tie sex to emotions as much as women tend to. Men and women on average tend to treat sex very differently.

Struthers writes from a biblical perspective, but also from a psychological perspective. He writes about how men view sex and how pornography is degrading to them as men and degrading to the women. Pornography doesn’t enhance the joy of sexual pleasure. Instead, it winds up diminishing it. This book is ten years old and I think even more now it’s diminished than it was before. Today, there are men who are in their 20’s on viagra because they can’t get an erection watching real women because they’ve been watching women in porn for so long.

Struthers writes about the psychological and chemical effects that pornography has on the brain. He talks about how it is that a man experiences sexuality and how women should be aware of that. He writes about how many men experience shame with pornography and how it affects them. Sadly, there are too few men today who do not have any experience with pornography.

He also helps build up a worldview of sex and how it should properly be exercised in a marriage covenant between a man and a woman. This doesn’t mean that single people don’t have to have a proper worldview of sex. A single person has ways of bringing glory to God in their celibacy that a married person doesn’t. A married person has ways of bringing glory to God in their marriage and sexual intimacy that a single person doesn’t.

Also is the need for good masculinity. Today, we hear a lot about toxic masculinity. For many sadly, masculinity is measured by how good a man does in the bedroom. Naturally, a man wants to do good in the bedroom, but his masculinity is measured by far more than that. The measure of a man is really how much he can love, and when it comes to marriage, that will include showing love in the bedroom, but it also includes showing love everywhere else.

Also, men do need intimacy and by that is not just meant sex. There is a myth among women that all a man wants is sexual release when it comes to the act of marriage, which is just wrong. A man really wants to feel close and connected and loved by his wife and sexual intimacy is one of the loudest ways that a man gets the message that he is loved and accepted like that.

Finally, there’s a section on rewiring and restoring. There is hope and redemption for those whose lives have been damaged by pornography. Repentance and forgiveness is available to all who have stumbled.

I really encourage you to get this book and do something to address the problem of pornography. To sit alone looking at a computer screen to get aroused doesn’t require you to be a man. It just requires you to have a male body and a working computer with an internet connection. To go out and be a husband and maybe eventually a father as well, that requires you to be a real man. To have the desires for women but not feed them by viewing porn also requires you to be a real man. Go that route.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Friendship And Pleasure

Do friends make everything better? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I still remember reading about Double Dragon II coming out on the Nintendo. It had this new innovation in it in that two players could play simultaneously. In the past, when you played a game, you each had to take your turn. Now you could both go at the same time. How incredible was that?

After all, playing a game can be a lot of fun, but it’s even better when someone does it with you. If I play a game by myself at home, that can be fun, but it’s really more enjoyable if Allie is right there with me even if she’s just watching. Many of us know this about our friendships. Things are just more fun if you do them with friends.

It’s okay to watch your favorite show. It’s even better when you watch it with friends or at least discuss it with them, like when my friend Chris and I used to get together every week to watch the new episode of Smallville. Going to a sporting event or a concert isn’t my cup of tea, but some people enjoy it, and I suspect they enjoy it even more with friends.

With friendship, you not only get the enjoyment of what you’re doing, but the enjoyment of doing it with someone else and seeing how they respond to it. Get more people together and it can be even more enjoyable. My bachelor party back in 2010 had to be one of the most tame bachelor parties of all by comparison. I got together with several of my friends at a place with a big screen and we just played Super Smash Brothers Brawl all night long.

Many friends also have inside jokes. There are things that they share that they share with no one else. A simple word or phrase or gesture can bring out uproarious laughter from the group.

These times can also lead to other connections. This can lead to sharing of things as you build a bond of trust with the friend and the friendship can move beyond just one of pleasure together, but it can also be one of a sort of intimacy together. In our culture, we often refer to intimacy and think it just refers to the sexual act. There are plenty of other ways of being intimate.

It’s odd how it works. When suffering enters, pain is divided. You don’t have to carry it as much because someone else is sharing it with you. Yet when it comes to pleasure, pleasure is not divided but rather it is multiplied. Your having pleasure at the same activity as me does not diminish my pleasure. Instead, it increases it.

So why not go and see a friend today? Take their pain for them and let them have less. Give them some pleasure and let them have more. Be a friend.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thank You, Veterans

Why do we celebrate Veteran’s Day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Even if someone gives you a gift, someone had to pay for it. Even if it was something someone gave of their own, they sacrificed something. Perhaps they just gave it up or gave away some income they could have got from the gift given.

Today, we honor a gift that has been given to us. Well, it hasn’t been given so much as preserved for us. Our Constitution does not give us a single right. It instead recognizes the rights that we have by virtue of being human beings. It was written to limit the government as to what they could to the citizens.

Our veterans are the ones that are still around that have stood in the gap for us against those that oppose us and would seek to overpower us in some way. The most vivid example we saw of this is 9/11. For many of us that day, our world had a crack put in our security. We are not a nation that cannot be attacked. We definitely can be.

Veterans are the people who have chosen to go and fight somehow on our behalf. Not all fight in the mainlines. Being a veteran doesn’t just mean picking up a gun and going to the battlefield. Some people stay behind and handle medical duties or logistics or anything like that. All give of themselves.

Patton is said to have said years ago that war is Hell and these people willingly go to face Hell. They leave their families behind for a time and they have no guarantee that they will ever see them again. There’s always the hope, but it is never fully known. When they kiss their spouses or children good-bye before they fly off somewhere, it could be the last time that they ever do that.

They sleep in beds away from the ones that they love. They miss birthday parties and Christmases and graduations and perhaps even wedding ceremonies at times. They have to live in conditions that are not the ones they really want eating meals they don’t really choose in a country that they are not familiar with.

Why?

Because they think that there is something greater out there than what they want. They are willing to sacrifice of themselves because they believe there is something greater than themselves out there. They want to make sure that what they value over here lasts, even if they don’t know they’ll get to live to enjoy it.

Every single one of them is a hero then.

My wife got a habit in me and I still follow it. If I am out in public and see a veteran, though this also applies to police officers, I thank them for their service. If I had money and saw them at a restaurant, I would always ask to pay for their meals. These people could use our thanks as well since people don’t regularly do jobs just to get thanks, although some do, but it is always appreciated to be thanked for the service that you do.

Thank you Veterans, for all that you’ve done for us. You have been willing to make the sacrifice and thankfully, you didn’t have to. May today you be honored wherever you go and may you be honored everyday.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Friends In Suffering

How do friends help in suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the interesting phenomena that takes place is that a place to commit a crime and get away with it is in public. There are stories of a woman being raped in an apartment complex and is in the outdoors and is screaming, but no one does anything. Why? Because everyone assumes that someone else is doing something.

Consider our hearing of car horns. When car alarms started with horns going off, people might have noticed. Now, we hear the horn go off and no one really does anything. It’s become mundane. My personal thought is since everyone has smartphones now, what we should do is when someone starts to break into the car, it sends a silent message to the person who owns the car so the thief doesn’t know and the police can arrive and catch the person in the act.

So it is sometimes with friendship. Friends can be a great help in suffering, but one of the great sadnesses is that usually, we assume someone else will do it. Because of that, those people who need the help of their friends are not getting it.

A few months ago, I was on Facebook and saw in a group someone posting about being in the darkest spot of their life and wanting to end it all. I knew this person some and immediately messaged them and started talking them through it. For a few days, I was getting in touch with them everyday just to check on them. Eventually, they said they had someone around them who was helping them and I moved on, but I did take the step to reach out and help.

Just now, my wife and I were heading home and she was in a depressed state. She could be still, but she’s sounding a bit upbeat right now. Why? Because a friend called her she wasn’t expecting and they’re just talking. They’re not really talking about their problems so much from what I overhear, but just talking.

We can have this tendency where we all meet together and then go home and we forget about one another. I’ll confess, I’m not good at this either. However, what could it mean to a person to just get a message or a text or a phone call saying “I’m thinking about you.”? As I said, when I was in Middle School, the highlight of my week was my Sunday School teacher calling and seeing how I was doing.

If we send the out of sight, out of mind, message enough, people will start to think they don’t really matter. They just have fair-weather friends. I know it’s made my wife tremendously happy to get a call from someone who knows our financial situation and will still say something like, “I want to take you out for lunch or dinner” or “I want to see a movie with you.” I love being with Allie, but some healthy time apart is good for us too.

Suffering is always easier when you have other people coming alongside you and walking with you. It tells you you are not alone in the journey. “But I don’t know how to help my friend with their problems!” So what? Maybe your help isn’t needed. Maybe just listening is needed. Maybe just a distraction is needed.

This also comes back to being a friend. A friend who is only there when times are good is not much of a friend. Be a friend who is there when times are bad.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Response To David Cross

How did we not get the Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let me tell you the story about how we got the idea of evolution.

Once in history Charles Darwin was sailing around in the Beagle Boat and saw a bunch of birds who had different beaks and came up with an idea of animals mutating into different forms, kind of like Pokemon, and then decided to extrapolate all the way back to the past. Modern scientists today think that there was a pond somewhere on Earth and a lightning bolt struck it and some cells came together and a bunch of them turned into a fish that crawled out of the ocean and turned into every other animal that we see over time. Unfortunately for the theory, Darwin recanted of it on his deathbed.

Anyone who is an evolutionist be it an evolutionary creationist or a naturalistic creationist would think I am a total moron on the theory saying that. You know what? They would be right. That would be one of the worst presentations I could give of evolution. That doesn’t mean that evolution is true, but it does mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about with it.

Now imagine if someone said the same kind of thing about the Bible? What if someone made a statement presuming to be an authority on a subject and yet it was nonsense? Such is the case with a meme I saw recently. I went to my site here to see if I had said anything about it and I hadn’t. Therefore, I decided I should write about it.

This meme is attributed to David Cross. I do not know for sure if he said the quote or not, but people spread it around anyway. For the sake of argument, I am going to be assuming it was said but even if it was not, the thought expressed, or lack of thought I should say, is one that is commonly shared.

So let’s look at this meme in all of its infamy.

Where to begin?

First off, the Bible is a book that was written over a long period of time so to say when it was written doesn’t really make sense. It’s also unclear about what is meant by when it was editing. Some editing did take place in copying, but this would be to replace an unknown location with what it was known by to the current audience. This is not a change of content.

As for dead languages, not at all. Three languages are in there. Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Today, there are scholars of all three languages so we can know what is said. it would also be false to say a translation was made of a translation of a translation of a translation. Go to the store and get any Bible you want. It has been translated one time. Each translation goes back to the manuscripts that we have to see what it says.

Then given to kings for their favorite parts? Which kings were these? Cross doesn’t say and for good reason. There aren’t any to say. For a king to make this kind of change, he would have to go and change every single manuscript out there that we do have of the Old Testament and the New Testament. With the New Testament, he would also have to change the quotations found in the early church fathers.

Then Cross goes back to the editing and re-editing and then talks about it being given to the Pope for him to approve. Which Pope? He doesn’t say. Again, this is for good reason. There wasn’t a Pope who did this.

We come back to the same refrain again to which he then says that all of this was based on stories told 30 to 90 years AFTER they happened.

Um. Mr. Cross. I don’t know how to break this to you, but most histories are written after the events happen. Some historians have tried writing about it before, but it really doesn’t work that well. It’s best to wait until the events take place and THEN write about them.

I would also think it would be awesome if we could get skeptics to say Genesis was written 30-90 years after the events took place. We could easily dispense of JEPD then. This again is another area where Cross doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Cross’s statement is also unclear. Did these stories just start getting told 30 to 90 years later? Doubtful. These were being told in the lifetime of Jesus even and these were oral societies that knew how to keep stories well. Don’t expect him to cite anyone like McIver or Dunn or Keener or anyone like that.

Also, 30 to 90 years in that time wasn’t a long time. Many of the lives of Plutarch were written over a century later. Many great historical works were written long after the events took place. This sounds like a problem to modern people. It’s not in the world of ancient history.

Finally, most people back then couldn’t read or write, but someone else could and that person would read a letter or Gospel. Normally, the person delivering the work would also know the author and be able to tell some of the details that weren’t written and answer questions. Again, no research is cited in this little meme but hey, lack of research has never stopped atheists from propagating statements of faith like this.

So no, you don’t have to wonder what it would be like for someone to get Biblical transmission as wrong as I got evolution.

David Cross has already done this for us and so have all the atheists who have shared this as if it was a convincing argument.

How Do We Get Friends?

What does it take to get a friend? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the comedy series The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper wants to befriend one of his antagonists in order to get to use the computer at the lab. Sheldon decides to go to the library, get a book on friendship, though written for kids, and extrapolate the principles to a higher level. Most of us kind of laugh at that because to quote the commercial, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.”

And yet, in some ways, it is. There is a sort of art to making friends. Years ago I read Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. One simple rule I remembered from the book was to remember the names of people you meet. Many of us may not realize it, but we do love to hear the sound of our own names.

So when we moved into our new apartment complex, I tried to make it a point to learn the names of the people around me. It’s a small thing, but it does help. I also try to talk to them about the topics that they bring up. I remember a lively discussion outside the pool here once with a lady who was describing how she took a philosophy class once.

Yet overall, there is one simple way to get friends. It’s to be one. Note that this won’t always work. You cannot force someone to do something like that. Friendship has to be a real and genuine choice.

Do you want people to talk to you? Try to talk to them more. I remember growing up in middle school and the highlight of the week was always the same. I was surprised the first time it happened, but grateful after awhile. It’s a shock when you’re that age and the phone rings at the house and someone asks for you. Who wants to call you? (At least if you’re the nerd in school)

It was the Sunday School teacher that I had asking me how my week was. This would happen every week on Friday or Saturday. It became something I looked forward to. When this teacher died unexpectedly one day, it was my first real encounter with death. My grandfather had died when I was two years old so I couldn’t remember that.

There are plenty of people that if you care about this would love it if you would just reach out to them and see how they’re doing from time to time. If someone doesn’t reach out, odds are no one will reach back. Well suppose you reach out and no one reaches back. Oh well. Do you do the right thing to get a reward?

But if they do reach out, that is excellent for both of you. It’s always good to reach out and do something kind to your fellow man just for the sake of doing something kind. However, if you remain standoffish and don’t reach out to people, most people will likely assume you’re not interested in any sort of relationship and act accordingly.

Keep in mind based on my last entry in this, you don’t really need this to work with a lot of people. You just need a few. This is why accountability partners work so well with programs with Celebrate Recovery and others. One of the best ways to succeed in something is get an accountability partner and a mentor. I have a mentor I email every night.

Bottom line again, if you want to get a friend be one. Make the first move.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

How Many Friends Do We Need?

What’s a good number to have? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you look on my Facebook as of the time of writing this post, you will see that I have 3,083 friends. Don’t for a moment think that I really know all of them. In the past when games let you do this more, when I played a Final Fantasy game and got to rename the characters, I went with the names of my friends. It would be difficult to do that often with Facebook friends.

Sometimes my wife will get a friend request from someone and say “Do you know them?”

“Nope.”

“You’re friends with them.”

“Doesn’t mean that I know them.”

Which is true. Many of you don’t know many of your own Facebook friends well if you have them. Some you might have some good knowledge about, but you wouldn’t really call it an intimate friendship. There are a few Facebook friends I’ve never met in person that I would consider to be true friends that I can count on. It’s often quite enjoyable when I get to meet these friends.

But how many friends do you really need?

Well, if we looked at the life of Jesus, you could consider that he had 12 apostles. Within that group, there was a privileged group, the three, that he invited on very special moments to join him. Even outside of the twelve, there were other people like Lazarus and his family and numerous women. Still, Jesus did not open up with just everyone.

I really think this is a good principle to follow. Have a circle of friends. Let it be a circle with several rings. On the outermost circle are friends you know a couple sparse details about. You could say hi if you saw them in public, but they probably won’t be over to your house for dinner.

The next circle is friends you are closer to. These people might come over for a movie or for dinner. At the same time, you’re not willing to open up the closet door so they can see your skeletons yet. They could often be friends just because you enjoy their company.

The innermost ring though is your faithful circle and I really prefer to keep this ring small. Not only can they be true friends to you then, but you can also be true friends to them. In this lifetime, there is only so much of you that can go around.

People can move in and out of the circles as well. Sometimes it could depend on location. People we were super close to in Knoxville we don’t talk to as much now that we live in Atlanta. That just happens. Some people you can be close to because of work or attending a church with them or anything like that. Again, no one has to be a friend to you always.

Try to make everyone a best friend and you’re in for a world of hurt I think. Have some good friends and then keep a close circle of the people you really trust. Be friends to them and let them be your friends.

In Christ,
Nick Peters