Gifts from the Internet
I’m mildly obsessed with the site Spiritual Friendship. I’ve linked to it before and I’ll probably link to it again (and again and again). The writers contribute an intellectual, nuanced, and compassionate voice to the conversation about homosexuality, Christianity, and culture. Something that they are insistent on that the culture at large seems to be unable to grasp is that friendship can be more than merely about social interaction. In fact, it can be deeply, intellectually and emotionally intimate and a life without that type of friendship is lacking. But it seems like when this occurs, the secular world sets off red flashing lights and wailing sirens branding it a sexual relationship. Smh.
1. Simcha writes about Frog and Toad here. I’m going to say the whole queer theory movement in literary criticism did not help the issues outlined above.
2. I’ve linked to this before, but Melinda Selmys’s words about the friendship between St. John Paul the Great and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka are so excellent.
It should be no surprise then that John Paul II had intimate friendships with women. Indeed, his personalism would seem to demand such relationships as a sign of healthy spiritual and emotional growth. The man who cannot relate to women without lusting after them is prevented from having healthy opposite-sex friendships precisely because he is incapable of seeing women as persons. The same is true, of course, of a woman who cannot have chaste friendships with men.
3. And for kicks, in case you missed my review of this film on friendship, hop on over and do yourself a favor and watch it.
4. It’s summer and we’ve been eating our weight in tomatoes, summer berries, and more.
-We started out with a bang when we went over to some friends’ house for a dinner and movie night and they made many a fantastic summery thing to eat (basil berry shortcake with homemade whipped cream!). Among those was salmon cooked out on the grill and it was mind-blowingly good. Crisp on the outside. Juicy on the inside. I feel spoiled now and don’t want salmon any other way.
-Then we had PW’s bruschetta and it was grand and addicting. We added goat cheese. At the same meal was this very berry fruit salad with the loveliest balsamic-mint dressing. I’m bringing it again for a playdate brunch today.
–Ina Garten’s chilled cucumber soup with shrimp tastes so fresh after swimming in heat and humidity these summer days. We had it paired with tomato-carmelized onion-goat cheese puff pastry tarts.
5. Thinking about more famous, intimate, platonic friendships: Mole and Ratty from The Wind in the Willows, Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte (the 2008 film version of Brideshead is a clear example of how wrong our modern culture gets friendship), Saints Francis and Clare, Blessed John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John (also J.H.N apparently wrote about the theology of friendship in his sermon on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist), Alfred Lord Tennyson and Arthur Hallam, and just for funsies, these hilario hippos. Who else ought to be added to this list?
6. A couple weeks ago, I went and saw Love and Friendship with a friend whom I love. It rekindled my love for Jane Austen who is both so, so funny and so, so wise. Virtuous love triumphs again (in the most hilarious of circumstances!)
7. More adventures with friends: two of my sweet college friends and I hit the road with the baby in tow for the Blanco Lavender Fest in the Texas Hill Country a few weeks ago. The air was sweet with lavender, the crowds were full of people dressed in pale purple and my tastebuds were having a field day over lavender flavored everything (N.B. coffee+lavender syrup+vanilla ice cream). We also found another friend there. Then last night for the eve of St. John’s Day, we went over to our friends’ house and had a traditional bonfire in honor of the saint who, in this dark world, lit the way for our Savior.
Happy Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Last night, the priest who blessed our bonfire told us that one of the reasons the feast is celebrated on Midsummer’s Day, the day when the sun is highest in the year, is in reference to John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”