Celebrations of Machen’s birthday (July 28, 1881) took me to an undisclosed location where Internet access was impossible. In the spirit of jaywalking, limited government, and Reformed theology, here is Machen on friendship:
Now I know perfectly well that friendships cannot be made to order — it is far too subtle a thing for that: it has its roots too deep down in the human soul. All that we an do is to remove obstacles that may stand in its way.
The first of such obstacles — and one that stands in the way not only of intimate friendship but also of all Christian intercourse — is intolerance. I am not speaking so much of intolerance for different views on quest of theology — though where there is a real religious devotion to Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of the World, tolerance is certainly a virtue — but rather of intolerance for different ways of giving expression to the common Christian faith. One man can give day and hour of his conversion, and loves to have the name of Jesus always on his lips; to another, Christian experience seems a deep and holy mystery, which must not be breathed except to sympathetic ears. One can conceive of no Christian activity other than that of preaching the gospel, and regards as part of the wisdom of this world which is foolishness with God the researches of the Christian scholar; another is filled with a deep longing for knowledge as to the way things actually happened in the time of Christ and the apostles, and is inclined to look rather askance upon the more emotional temperament of the evangelists. To one, Christianity seems a thing that is diametrically opposed to the arts; another loves to give his faith poetical expression, to bring it into some kind of connection with literature. This diversity will be a stumbling block until we remember Paul’s words about diversity of gifts but the same Spirit. We must learn to thank God that he did not make all men alike — especially that he did not make all men like us. Let us do our own work, in the special sphere and in the special way for which our gifts may fit us; but let us not disparage the work of that other man of entirely different habits of thought. Christ came to save not only the ignorant man but the scholar; not only the scholar but the ignorant man. Let us thank God that he raises up various instruments to accomplish his infinitely various work. (“The Christian and Human Relationships,” 427-28)