Saturday Surprises: small churches, men and women being friends

Some things I’ve found recently (and way back when that I hadn’t blogged):

I’m a huge advocate for cross-gender friendships, that men and women can be friends. But, I also know in the contexts I live and work in, I’m not as vocal about it as I’d like to be. Biggest value-add: un-objectifies women. I’ve not blogged volumes about it as my virtual friend Dan Brennan over at Faith Dance, and I really respect his thoughtful insights about how to navigate those sticky issues, especially in an oversexed society.

Compare and contrast the “10 commandments” for avoiding any hint of sexual immorality vs. this Eugene Peterson quote and follow-up reflections:

I’ve not lived cautiously. I have friendships with women. I touch them. I’ve been more careful in school than I was in the parish, where everyone knows me. It’s different now because someone can come to my office and we can have a deep talk and the next day I won’t know his or her name. That didn’t happen in a church setting. So I’m more careful now. But I’m not obsessive. These are my friends. Touch is a human thing, not just a sexual thing. It is dehumanizing to deny touch. Is sex a contagious disease? Sex is a danger, but money is a danger too. Do you refuse to take a salary because money is a danger?

And here’s the question, put forth by Dan Brennan,

Is it possible for cross-sex friendships to flourish in our church communities with more constructive meanings than the appearance of sexual immorality? You see if we are training church leaders with a socially constructed meaning of men and women with taken-for-granted conventional assumptions, I would argue that we may not be pursuing social justice at a fundamental relational level in our communities.

My answer is yes. Where, you ask? Well, that’s a tougher question. 1 qualifer: not everyone can do this.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Brian Vasil says:

    Hi DJ,

    The video of the Internet Campus Baptism can be found here on YouTube

    It was an amazing event! Go God!

  2. Les Puryear says:

    Thanks for the links.


  3. Dan says:

    Thanks for the link and post. Yes, we do need to be forming cross-gender friendships with deepening constructive meanings among church leaders and communities. And very much like cross-race friendships the path is complicated but doable if we cultivate trust in extramarital cross-gender friendships–and friendships among single men and women

  4. Wayne Park says:

    small church and keller's notes = great articles.
    somewhat astounded by keller's notes… somekind of shorthand. I dunno how he can follow it, but it must be all up there in his dome. Brilliant.

  5. Jenn H says:

    Thank you for these links — it was so refreshing to read that blog! You know me; I've advocated along these lines for a long time. Male – female friendships shouldn't be feared, but you're right — they're not for everyone. There has to be a certain maturity level and a whole lot of trust.