This upcoming Sunday I continue my David series and focus on friendship.  Like everything else in David’s life, his friendship with Jonathan was complicated.  As is my custom, below is a preview section of the sermon from 1 Samuel 18:1-4.  It comes about 40% of the way through and is the section I use right before the big problem emerges—the problem being Jonathan’s father, Saul.  My inspiration for this was both my boyhood friends but also thinking about Prince Harry and his army buddies on leave.  I think Jonathan and David must have been a lot like that.  Enjoy.

Jonathan? Or maybe ruddy David?

Use your imagination for a moment and imagine—image Jonathan and David.  Not just textually, but the emotional energy it is trying to communicate.  That language there—two souls closely knit together—is not the kind of language that you use for filler.  No, the writer is attempting to tell us about the depth of their relationship.

The way I read the Bible here, these are both young men, now both accomplished in battle so they are soldiers—not boys, but youthful, brave, and probably a little bit dashing.  David is not yet married, and Jonathan is likely unmarried as well at this time although we don’t know.  They are the guys who Hebrew girls giggle and stare at when they walk by and then they get posters of them from Tiger Beat Magazine to put on their wall.

Imagine Jonathan and David hunting together in the wilderness, stalking prey and shooting a bear with a bow and arrow and then see their joy at eating wild game over a fire together.  Can you hear them telling jokes?

I can.

Jonathan and David live a fairy tale life of privilege in the beginning.   They live in the King’s home with all the luxuries and privileges you would expect.  Jobs, expenses, and bills are not their concerns.  They have the best armor, wear the most fashionable clothes, have attendants to pull the car out of the garage and to shuffle the cards for them when they play poker at night with the boys.

For these two it is a kind of ideal existence.  They have no care in the world except to be young men sharing life together.

Can you hear them at night, whispering and talking.  Can you hear Jonathan saying, “I know that my father expects me to be king, but I also know that Samuel was right and you’re the next king.”  Can you see David shaking his head, “No, we shall reign together!  We will be brothers till death!”

Can you hear it?  Can you hear them dreaming of the future–a future waiting to be robbed from them by an evil madman.

I can.


UPDATE–Tomorrow (18 May 2012) Facebook opens as an IPO and a lot of people are going to get very rich very quick.  The company will open valued more than Microsoft or McDonalds.  It is almost unbelievable.  I do not think it can last, but I said the same thing about three years ago–so what do I know.  In honor though, of the social network we all love to hate but can’t pull ourselves away from, I am re-posting one of my early blogs from October 2010.  It may be more relevant now than ever. 

I have been on Facebook slightly longer than most.  I started out on Myspace and then for a while I managed two accounts.  Eventually, though, I dropped Myspace because it was not nearly as user friendly as Facebook and the spammed solicitations were awful.  FB (Facebook) has so many advantages to people like me—who want to connect with folk and communicate instantly—that it would be stupid not to utilize it as a ministry tool and in my own personal life.

What I have found though, is that as more and more people FB they have substituted FB posts for all communication.  This has led to some very nasty trends.  Christian people on FB have somehow gotten the notion that they can post all types of mean things about people—usually passive aggressive—with no consequences.  But, there are consequences because there are only about 500 million people out there!  If you rant to your dumb dog about the stupid thing your friend did, the dumb dog will not tell your friend or a mutual friend.  But if you post it as your post on FB, don’t be surprised if all your friends read it and then start posting wars; all taking swipes at each other.

Emerging technologies call for emerging wisdom.  I’ve devised 6 rules for the Christian Facebooker.  Please note, all of them I have personally broken in the past!  Experience is the best teacher.


FB Rule #1—Never post anything with dirty words or immoral innuendo.  Many FB users are children and the influence we have over them should be positive, not negative.

FB Rule #2—If your post is about someone specific, it should be complimentary and not mean.  What we learned from our parents is true of FB—“If you can’t post something nice, don’t post anything at all.”

FB Rule #3—Never air dirty laundry on FB.  NEVER.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 18 that we should go to the individually personally to discuss things that are between us.  If FB is your means then message them and talk it out.  Do not use the “comment” line to take shot at a deacon or something like that.  That is the OPPOSITE of Jesus’ command.

FB Rule #4—Be careful of the “friends” motif.  A FB friend is not necessarily a friend who has your best interests at heart.  Likewise, on FB you can remove a friend by simply hitting “delete.”  But in the real world it is not that clean.  Friendship is messy.  It is impossible to terminate a relationship just by “deleting” someone.

FB Rule #5—Clarify posts.  Sometimes I post serious stuff and sometimes I post silly stuff.  This has caused some people to be confused.  Go back and clarify—so that people understand your intent.  That is the problem with printed words; it is hard to know the emotion behind them.

FB Rule #6—If you are angry, don’t post anything.  EVER.  Just read others and hit the like buttons and such.  FBing while angry only leads to problems.

Have fun on FB, but also remember other people are watching us (that is what FB is, by definition) and our Christian witness is always under scrutiny.

Original Post–Facebook Rules I need to Remember

Other FB related Posts–I’d Leave Facebook, Except. . ., In Celebration of Blogging


I thought long and hard, at least 6 minutes, about whether or not I would write a blog putting my two cents into the Facebook rearrangement.  After all, I’ve already written about FB in the past.  At first I wasn’t going to because everyone else was complaining already, jumping ship to the new Google social network, falling back to Twitter only and in general bellyaching (me included) and I just didn’t want to get lost in the noise.  No doubt many people will just stop FBing altogether.

I would be one of them—I could live without FB—except.  It is the “excepts” which get in the way.  Each of these excepts are very important to me, and in all seriousness trump my own personal needs.

  • Except . . . FB provides a mass communication model that has something intangible which is lacking in either regular old-fashioned email or Twitter.  I can’t put my finger on it, but it is definitely real.  It is something like inertia—or momentum.  Even with all the buggy changes to format and security stuff FB still has that “contact everybody at once” feeling.  To use a New Testament idea, FB has become a digital synagogue; where everyone meets and sees each other.  To use a 1980’s idea, FB is the digital shopping mall.
  • Except . . . Friends.  I do not have thousands and thousands of friends, but I do have a lot of friends—people in the real world, who I am able to see how their lives are and be somewhat in community with.  I’ve worked hard to collect these friends and throwing them way in a fit of anger seems, unfriendly.  I like my friends and without FB I would lose something of the relationship.  Now, if we ALL jumped ship to Google’s new site or Twitter, then okay but I doubt we all would.
  • Except . . . Twitter.  In the last few months I’ve gotten to know Twitter better.  When I opened my first Twitter account I shut it down almost immediately because my mind just didn’t understand Twitter.  However, lately I’ve been playing with it more and getting more comfortable with it.  Yet I know, Twitter doesn’t have the automatic “oh, I understand it” factor that FB has always had and I am kidding myself I think I will connect to the same number of people through Twitter that I can FB.  I approximate 80% of our church is on FB while less than 5% are on Twitter
  • Except . . . Maybe FB knows something I don’t know.  I’m not a big fan of the new layout, but my perception is that there is a reason for it.  Yeah, I complained yesterday a bit, but the more I think about it I must keep in mind that FB has 500 million+ users, many in other countries.  Maybe the new layout fits the needs of non-English speakers or other cultures better.  This is the “Why” Question.  They must have a reason—a good one, I hope.
  •  Except . . . Ministry is easier with FB.  Through FB I can do several ministry things in a short amount of time.  I can contact my small group.  I can publicize information.  I can pray for people (BTW, in case you’re wondering, I’m very confident prayers typed onto a FB message are heard by God too), discover needs, and follow-up with real world situations.  You can say—well, that is what email is for but I rebut, we did that for years and email just doesn’t work as well as FB.  I get instant feedback from FB in ways I never got or get from email.


In addition to these, I could also argue that, well, it shouldn’t really matter that much, now should it.  If people get this hot and bothered over the lay-out of a website that helps us leave silly posts about what we’re eating or play on-line games about farms and mafia; perhaps our lives are out of whack to begin with.  Face it, FB just doesn’t matter enough to be angry about.