Spirituality as Friendship

The Three Friendships is an online learning platform for spiritual formation and theological education. It began as a collaborative effort between Newbigin House of Studies and City Church San Francisco and is growing to serve a variety of churches and other faith communities. The courses and seminars here aim to reimagine Christian Spirituality through the lens of friendship. All are welcome! 

A Relational Approach to the Spiritual Journey

What would Christian spirituality look like if we saw it through friendship as our primary lens? What if growth and formation in the spiritual life revolved around cultivating three essential friendships – with God, the city, and our neighbors. The Three Friendships is a spiritual formation curriculum that recognizes friendship as the core gift and calling of the Christian life.

There are a variety of offerings here – from mini courses that take just 10-15 minutes to longer multi-week classes with group interaction. We look forward to growing in friendship together.

The Three Friendships

Described

Christian spirituality through the lens of friendship with God provides grounding for the life of faith. Beginning with friendship reminds us that the Christian life is rooted in a relationship marked by grace and love rather than fear or anxiety. Life with God involves deep roots as well as soaring heights, duty as well as delight, commitment as well as freedom. God wants us to order our lives for the sake of flourishing; he also wants us to be free spirits, who roam this earth with a song in our hearts. It is a truth too often overshadowed by feeble religious efforts: life with God is joyfully expressed in friendship with God.

Christian spirituality that calls us to friendship with the city provides direction for a life of hope. We do not choose flight from a conjured darkness, rather choosing to live in the light of God’s love for the city. The pursuit of friendship challenges the propensity of religious hubris toward a sense of superiority or condescension. We are not called to sequester ourselves in a corner of the city or to transform it into our image. We do not stand over our city, we find our place as dwellers within it. We affirm that there is a great deal of spiritual wisdom in the city, and it is God’s invitation to us to walk in friendship with the city.

Christian spirituality that esteems friendship with our neighbors provides motivation for a life of love. The joy of friendship reminds us that people are valuable gifts and that life is better when we experience it together. How might we change if we viewed the people in our lives as friends, rather than objects of resentment or sources of sadness? We are not to use, look down on, or compare ourselves to other people. God’s love models a better way and compels us to love one another. In a world where deep friendship is so rare, we are called to befriend our neighbors.