Those of you who have followed me for a while will remember that I did some writing about friendship between men and women. I reviewing those posts, I realized that I had not as of yet done a good job of explaining the subject clearly and concisely. Many of these previous articles were written as I attempted to work out my understanding of the subject. Today I want to write what I feel is an excellent example of how my views on this subject play out in real life. Hopefully this will help you to understand my views on the subject more clearly.
For years my impression—conscious and unconscious—has been that in order to express love and receive expressions of love, I needed to find a “significant other”. Or in other words, a “romantic” relationship is the only proper context for the majority of expressions of love. So if I was not in this “romantic” type of relationship, I could not express love nor could I be loved by others. Especially at this time of year, I could certainly feel left out. After all, I couldn’t participate in all of the traditional Valentine’s day activities without a significant other.
But this year has been different. Thanks in large part to Dan Brennan, my understanding of love and friendship—especially between men and women—has grown. I’ve often done positive things in previous years rather than simply feeling sorry for myself. But I think the things I’ve done have always been safer and more reserved for fear of doing something too much or some how inappropriate. However this year I bought flowers and wrote personalized cards which I gave to the four ladies who are in my “house church”. (For those who may be wondering, three are single and one is engaged.) In so doing, I felt good about myself and felt like I was not left out of Valentine’s Day. And on the other end, the ladies all really appreciated the gift. It was positive all around.
Again, this is one great example how I believe friendship between men and women plays out in practice. This is why I believe we need to expand our understanding of love and specifically expressions of love. I believe that we ought to be able to understand that many expressions of love are appropriate beyond only the context of romance. This is, I believe, the idea behind the conference “Bold Boundaries“. (I will be there and you can be too!) The idea is not that there shouldn’t be boundaries or that there aren’t any dangers. The idea is that we should dare to boldly love one another despite these fears, and that there is room to love boldly even while practicing reasonable caution.
Jeremy Myers – Are Cross-Gender Friendships Possible
Lynne Tait – Little Boxes
Dan Brennan – Cross-Gender Friendship: Jesus and the Post-Romantic Age
Glenn Hager – Sluts and Horndogs
Jennifer Ellen – A Different Kind of Valentine
Alise Wright – What I get from my cross-gender friend
Liz Dyer – Cross-Gender Friendships and the Church
Paul Sims – Navigating the murky water of cross-gender friendships
Jonalyn Fincher – Why I Don’t Give out Sex like Gold Star Stickers
Amy Martin – Friendship: The most powerful force against patriarchy, sexism, and other misunderstands about people who happen to not be us, in this case, between men & women
Maria Kettleson Anderson – Myth and Reality: Cross-Gender Friendships
Bram Cools – Nothing More Natural Than Cross-Gender Friendships?
Hugo Schwyzer – Feelings Aren’t Facts: Living Out Friendship Between Men and Women
Marta Layton – True Friendship: Two Bodies, One Soul
Kathy Escobar – The Road To Equality Is Paved With Friendship
Karl Wheeler – Friends at First Sight
Doreen Mannion – Hetereosexual, Platonic Cross-Gender Friendships–Learning from Gay & Lesbian Christians
Jim Henderson – Jesus Had A Thing for Women and So Do I
Elizabeth Chapin – 50 Shades of Friendship