Growing disciples of Jesus will not thrive on their earthly journey without developing skill in choosing, testing, trusting, and enjoying friends. One of the best teachers of these skills is a pastor named Aelred. Known as one of the greatest friends in the history of the church, Aelred was a pastor, a theologian, and an exceptional friend to hundreds of people who wanted to grow into spiritual maturity. Through dialogue with three of his friends, Aelred teaches us about friendship while interacting with Scripture, reason, tradition, and his own lived experience.
All ministry leaders need to cultivate healthy and life-giving friendships, with peers and especially with Jesus. Unfortunately the concept of friendship has been reduced to clicks and “likes” on social media sites that are neither life-giving nor truly signs of friendship. Hank Voss, using the wisdom of Aelred of Rievaulx, reorients us to the great value and depth of true and lasting friendships and to their centrality in generous and holistic service to others.
Rev. Greg Peters, PhD, SMD
Professor of Medieval and Spiritual Theology
Torrey Honors College, Biola University
As a pupil of Bernard of Clairvaux and his Sermons on the Song of Songs, Aelred focused on being God’s friend (John 14:1). Aelred’s Spiritual Friendship is an excellent book, both of scholarship and of devotion.
James M. Houston, DPhil
Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology
In an age of information overload, globalization, increasing isolation, and individualism, we need the reminder that friendships among Christians can be holy and life-giving, and indeed provide the needed accountability for faithful, fruitful, long-term ministry. From my own experience as a single in ministry, life can be lonely . . . but it does not have to be. Thanks to Aelred and Hank Voss, we have that reminder.