The Conspiracy of Friendship

14 Nov

Conspiracy isn’t just something that happens in a James Bond movie.  It also happens when people enter into interdependent, life-giving friendships with those different than themselves.  After all, the term con(with) spire(spirit or breath), may be translated as “to join spirits,” or “to share breath.” Friendship is a way strangers can, with great care and vulnerability, share life together. To Con-spire. To Share-Spirit. To Share-Breath. To Share-Life-Together.  This is the conspiracy of friendship.  

Like all conspiracy, the conspiracy of friendship calls for both unity and mutiny.  It implies that when two or more are gathered, a plot will be hatched to confront the powers and principalities of this world, and transform the way things are.  As a Presbyterian, this means joining our reformed forbearers, and declaring there is something better to hope for; there’s a better way of living and being in a world fragmented by fear and mistrust. As a follower of Jesus, this means listening for God’s voice in the unfamiliar, and seeing Jesus in those we’d least expect.
This kind of conspiracy is rooted in real relationships– relationships that share food, ideas, time, laughter, grief, questions, space, breath, life itself.  And it’s this sort of conspiracy that, at least in part, drives the ministry of the Princeton Presbyterians.
This year, we continue our Muslim-Christian partnership, sharing food and exchanging ideas while seeking to build trust.  We continue to worship God and study together, both Tuesday evenings at our gathering “Table Talk”and Sunday mornings at church.  Sunday afternoons an intergenerational small group gathers in the basement of Nassau Church, sharing life, faith, and food.  Monday afternoons, students and staff from Christian and Hindu traditions gather at a local tea house, to share our lives with one another.  Once a month we host a DIY (Do It Yourself) project on campus, open to students and staff alike.
In all these friendships, through unity and mutiny, vision and subversion, Princeton Presbyterians seek to love God, and love people.  In doing so, we humbly hope to point to the generous, unconditional grace of God.  It requires risk-taking, vision, vulnerability, time, and patience. But I think its worth it.  I’m hoping you do too.

In Service and Friendship,

Tara Woodard-Lehman is an ordained PC USA minister. Since 1998 she has ministered to and with university students. Prior to coming to Princeton, Tara served as the William C. Bennett Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Religion at Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Over the past four years Tara has served as the Executive Director of Westminster Foundation and Presbyterian Chaplain at Princeton University.  Tara also serves on the pastoral staff of Nassau Presbyterian Church

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