The Nature of Friendship, Part Two, with Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender continues last week’s conversation with his long-time friend, Dr. Tremper Longman, III. Dan and Tremper recall their time in college and seminary, when Dan’s taunting invited Tremper to more deeply explore what he believed about God and learn how to express it, and Tremper invited Dan to consider that God might actually love him and have a unique calling for his life.
Dan: “How does the kingdom of God shape us into friendships, and friendships into the kingdom of God, so that in some ways friendships actually help move us into the calling that God has for us?”
As seminary progressed, their unique passions and callings began to lead them in different directions. Then, in the 1980s, Dan and Tremper realized that their individual life’s work—Dan’s calling to lead survivors of abuse into deeper levels of healing and restoration, and Tremper’s calling to study the word of God and teach others to engage it with curiosity and integrity—overlapped in profound ways. Since then, Dan and Tremper have partnered on several books, co-taught classes, and led conferences together. And Dan is convinced that this experience is not unique to them.
Dan: “How is our friendship molding us to become who we are meant to be in the kingdom of God? That’s a question that just needs to be asked. Are we doing anything together other than going to a movie, going out to eat, going on vacation? Those are sweet things, but the longer and the deeper the friendship, the more the kingdom of God has to be the container that holds your heart because most friendships are going to fade, are not going to continue growing, if there’s not a larger goal.”
This type of friendship moves beyond nostalgia about the past, or even the enjoyment of each other’s company in the present, and invites us to dream together about how we might spur one another on toward new challenges, new opportunities, and new encounters with the goodness of God.
Dan: “You have to imagine: How are we to build beauty and glory, and how do we stand against darkness and evil together, in a way in which our friendship is then in service to the glory of God?”