a conversation on friendship between men and women

March 19, 2010

there is some good conversation happening right now on scot mcknight’s blog jesus creed concerning whether or not women and men can be friends when one of them (or both) is married: can we be friends? (a woman asks a married man). dan brennan’s new book sacred unions, sacred passions: engaging the mystery of friendship between men and women is mentioned in this post. i’ve been eagerly awaiting this book as i have followed dan’s blog faith dance for several years now. he is the to go-to guy for talk about godly male-female friendships when one or either party is married. i haven’t read his book yet but on his blog his reflections are thoroughly grounded in scripture—rather than contemporary church culture—and he even references jesus’ friendship with mary magdalene as a model. how’s that for provocative?

there is also an interesting excerpt on jesus creed of a post by a woman carolyn custis james about how our views of women influence our views of men and vice versa. she boldy takes on the ‘woman as temptress’ notion that is sadly prevalent in some churches today.

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11 Responses to “a conversation on friendship between men and women”

  1. Dan Brennan Says:

    Thank you, linda, for the blog love! I am greatly encouraged by the immediate response to the book. I am looking forward to hearing from you when you read it.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    I’m so excited about this book too!

  3. Kathleen Says:

    I have never been in nor seen a married person be friends successfully with a single person of the opposite sex. Prayer is such a personal experience that I don’t believe for example that a married woman could pray privately with a single man. Jesus relationship with Mary Magdalene was exceptional more like a brother and sister, father and daughter. The book will be interesting.

  4. katz Says:

    In my church, it seems like a lot of the reason men and women don’t usually form friendships is the underlying assumption that men and women won’t want to do the same sorts of things, which grates me a lot. I would certainly run out of friends pretty quickly if I eliminated the guys, married and otherwise. Of course, I don’t tend to form the very close relationships that Kathleen is talking about; I wouldn’t feel comfortable praying one-on-one with anyone but my husband. So maybe it depends on what one is assuming friendship entails.

  5. linda Says:

    in dan’s book he does see male-female friendships in the model of brother and sister which is not only biblical but what we will all be in heaven. he isn’t advocating a lack of boundaries or “anything goes” by any means but just a widening of current parameters for friendship between the sexes. i’m currently reading his book and he has an excellent chapter discussing how many of our views of men, women, and relationships are shaped by both the romantic myth and freud’s over-sexualization of both genders. that chapter alone is worth the price of the book. it really is thought-provoking material, but the reason i find this subject so interesting is that God very clearly has given me, a single woman, a close married male friend. while it’s not something i wish to discuss publicly i will say that after seeking God many times about it i have no doubt we are in God’s will, and his wife of course has full knowledge of our friendship.

    i do think it is important for us as christ followers to continually examine and discern what is from christ and what is from culture. when we are able to examine the assumptions we bring to our faith in the light of scripture i think it is common to find there are some things that we originally thought were of God that are in fact cultural. i realize it’s a controversial subject and i encourage those of you who are interested to know more to visit dan’s blog to learn more of what he thinks and who he is.

  6. MissaA Says:

    I was not aware that this was even an issue. Wow.

  7. stephen fox Says:

    Some of my best friendships have been with women.

    My current film heroine is Ree Dolly of the Movie Winter’s Bone. Get the Film Magazine cover story on the actress who plays her and Deb Granik interview.
    Good blog material for you; and those of you that preach, great anecdotes there and parabolic material.
    WBone is sprinkling in theatres here and there. Make a way to see it if you can.

  8. Tricia Says:

    In our church community it would not be unusual for men and women to be friends. We might go to lunch with one another just as two men or two women do. We are a small, close community & everyone knows everyone else so it would all be very above-board and no one would be concerned!

  9. Jimmy Says:

    I’ve been reading through this site with some amusement. You can be a Christian or a feminist, but not both. If the amount sophistry you employ to justify Timothy 2:11 is needed to correctly interpret the bible than it completely undermines the idea of the Bible as any kind of authoritative text.

    • Rebecca Says:

      Feminism is about granting women equality, safety and justice. This isn’t about marital obedience, it’s about the millions of women being exploited, raped, beaten, trafficked, objectified, used and abused. Now either try to learn something, or take your patronising comments elsewhere.

  10. Rebecca Says:

    One of my oldest and dearest friends is a married man. We went to high school together and he married one of my best girl friends. We’re all still great friends, but I have a little more in common with him (we’re both quite nerdy!) and I can say with 100% confidence that we have a Godly brother-sister relationship. I love my friend and his wife, and I think it’s sad that in our culture everything is so sexualised and people are so unfaithful that we discourage these healthy friendships.


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