I became a Christian when I was 15. That is, at least, the easiest way to say it (if not the most theologically accurate). And that means that for 15 years, I acted out of non-Biblically based presumptions. Not all were bad, not all were wrong, not all needed to go.
One of these presumptions, which until recently I held with a passion, was that males and females could absolutely, with no issues, in total purity, (andplusalsotoo it was fun) be friends. Since high school, when I lost 50 lbs and grew 6 inches 🙂 , I’ve had a lot of male friends. It wasn’t until I went on staff at a church that this changed. Suddenly, the way I hugged was inappropriate. Propriety dictated that you didn’t hurl through the air into friends, pounce and wrestle on unsuspecting manfriends, and you didn’t go out dancing with a new one every weekend. (See above) Who knew? My boss, that’s who. She gave me a what’s-for, and over the months, I saw that maybe there wasn’t total purity in the friendships I held with guys. Then, last January, my best friend (a guy) started dating someone. It became very quickly clear that we couldn’t be friends anymore. You can’t date someone while there is another someone who you say you love, who you say knows you better than anyone else, who you call beautiful.
It was terrible, it was like breaking up, only worse, because you’re not allowed to feel like you’re breaking up with someone you were never dating. Thus began the slow process of re-evaluating my stance. Recently I felt lead to not have any guy friendships at all…at least not ones that go anything beyond public, group style hanging out. None of this texting all day, no calling just to talk, no party hopping down 6th… I know this may sound so elementary to you, but Jesus came to save the sick, not the well. The relationally confused, not the ones that had it all figured out. So I made a few calls, or didn’t make a few calls, and basically retreated from the world of guy friends. Little changed on the outside, I’m a busy lady, but the intricacies of relational dynamics, they started to shine in new, holy hues. “Maybe this is it, maybe people of opposite gender just really can’t be friends,” I thought. I was certainly backed up. Tanya, a friend and mother I respect a lot (and whose house is a haven of purity) agreed, “No, no guy friends.” And Shanna’s husband (I live with their family) said something very similar to, “Has she seen When Harry Met Sally? Do we need to have a movie night?”
So I thought I had a new paradigm. Then, in response to a facebook status asking what people thought biblical femininity was, my friend Terra suggested a few books. The first is Mixed Ministry which I am currently reading. And this book, whoa. It talks about the Biblical call to live as brothers and sisters in Christ, “sacred siblings” is the term it uses. The key question it poses is “If biological brothers and sisters can manage it, can men and women not related by birth or by law share an affectionate, yet nonsexual, relationship?” (p64, Edwards, Matthews, and Rogers) It is tearing down all my ideas, in a great way, supported with Biblical texts. I love it! The pages look like Willy Nelson’s face, I’ve underlined so much. (see below)
I am no where near a conclusion on the issue, though. In fact, I think I can quite accurately sum up my thoughts as follows:
But I would like to share the following, which i found interesting. The authors suggested, if wondering how to love your brothers and sisters, taking the passage from 1 Corinthians 13 and replacing “love” with your gender’s sibling name. Mine, therefore, went like this
A sister is patient, a sister is kind. A sister does not envy or boast. A sister is not arrogant or rude.
A sister does not insist on her own way. A sister is not irritable or resentful.
A sister does not rejoice in wrongdoings but rejoices with the truth.
A sister bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Please, join the conversation. What do you think, friends? 😉