Header image for the article Show me your friends Credit: HANNAH THEODORE
Being part of a church community means an open door to a way of life characterized by love, care for others, and good cheer.

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.

So goes a saying you might come across from time to time.

The saying contains a message: Choose your friends carefully. They will strongly impact who you become and your future circumstances. Hang out with industrious, caring and trustworthy people, and your own future will likely include prosperity, love and the trust of others. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with people whose main goal is to have access to a steady supply of recreational weed, or who like to trash family and friends, or who easily tell lies and create drama, your future is likely to include many traumas, disappointments and financial hardships.

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This summer I reconnected with family and friends in a way that reminded me of the importance of choosing carefully who I connect with. An uncle died and so did a close friend. So, I attended two funerals. At these events I experienced the family and friends I have been connected with, some for a long time. Many of them are members of churches.

Having chosen friends who are involved in their churches has meant for me a number of things. First, it has meant a habitual faith in the life, death and return from death of Jesus Christ. At Christian funerals, Christ’s defeat of death figures large, as a bright shining light.

I cannot think of a more hopeful accounting of what is essential and important than these things. If they are true, then the world is the proper home of courage, love, justice, truth and glory. If they are not, then what is left are alternate views, many of which amount to counsels of despair.

Second, having family and friends who are members of churches has meant that I am part of a community of grace. At both funerals, family ties were strengthened. For me, a few old disagreements were laid to rest. Even though the loss of loved ones was mourned, there was a strong awareness that God had been a gracious friend to those who died, and that he remains a friend to all those who continue in life and look to him for strength and wisdom in today’s world. 

Finally, I would say that being part of a church community means an open door to a way of life characterized by love, care for others, and good cheer. I don’t want to give the impression that members of churches are perfect or that the church as an organized entity is without its faults, some of them glaring. However, we should not give up on the church. 

You may come from a Catholic, Anglican, United, Reformed, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, or other church. It can be tempting in the excitement - or challenge - of our student years to pull away from them. However, if you do that, consider the kinds of people you will be removing from your circle of influences.

Or consider the kinds of people you are staying away from if you have never been involved in a church and don’t ever explore one of the many churches within walking distance of where you live. The people of our churches may be exactly the kind of people who can inspire us to be patient, to hard work, and to care for others - things which we cannot do without during the college experience, and beyond.

Michael Veenema is a chaplain and church starter of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. In the past he has served on site at Fanshawe. He continues to write and create video from his current home in Nova Scotia. One of his YouTube channels is Sixteen Minute Church.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.