Every week, The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with four men, all active in the evangelical Church of the Nazarene, who assign themselves reading and then have an annual retreat where they discuss faith, death, and how to live well. In this interview, they tell their origin story, share their reading list, and explain the particular importance of friendship for adult men.
Randy Beckum, 65, a pastor with the Church of the Nazarene, who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii
Gary Morsch, 68, an emergency-room doctor who lives in Bucyrus, Kansas
Dean Nelson, 65, director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University, in San Diego, California
Rick Power, 64, a district administrator for the Church of the Nazarene who lives in Kailua, Hawaii
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Julie Beck: How did you all meet?
Dean Nelson: Randy, Rick, and I were all in college together in Kansas City. We connected in a couple of different philosophy classes. We were interested in big ideas and digging into things that went beyond the surface. We just found ourselves gravitating toward each other in discussions. I don’t think we socialized as much as we just got together and talked. We found kindred minds and hearts, when it came to what I would say are the things that matter.