Book Review Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions

In some Christian circles, intimate  cross gender relationships (unless you’re married to the person) are pretty much verboten. Those who are single are told to seek friendships with the opposite sex ONLY if they are seen as potential mates. Married couples are strongly advised to eschew any contact with the opposite sex outside of a hand shake (and even THAT may be too much contact). Most relationship books will tell you to be careful of intimate friendships because they could lead to (gasp) sex.

In his new book, Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions author Dan Brennan explores cross gender relationships from a new and different perspective. Using historical references and Biblical sources, Brennan breathes a breath of fresh air into the discussion. Instead of yelling “run away” at the first sign of a close intimate cross gender friendship, he encourages them. Now, lest I mislead, Brennan is not advocating intimate as in sexual intimacy. Rather he is advocating that cross gender friendships can be spiritually intimate. I can hear the gasps now. To quote from the Introduction:

This book makes a simple but provocative claim; stories of paired cross-sex friendship love are journeys toward communion with God and our neighbor in the Christian story. In the new creation, men and women are not limited to stark contrasts where we must choose between romantic passion in marriage or inappropriate sex/infidelity. Chaste, but powerfully close friendships between the sexes stir our curiosity and resist formulaic gender roles in marriage, friendship, and society.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Brennan’s book. Unlike many relationship books, he doesn’t assume that yours is broken and he has got the repair kit. Just the opposite, the assumption of the book is that the reader’s relationship is working. He assumes that his readers are mature Christians. If you believe in the more traditional way of thinking about cross gender friendships, this book will not give you shelter. However, it will give you pause to think. For those who have cross gender relationships, this book will affirm some of your  thoughts and feelings.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks Steve for your kind remarks. I am praying that this would open the door to to some fresh conversation and move past old stereotypes.

  2. Hi Steve. This is a book I want to read, also. Glad you reviewed it! And thanks for linking to my blog. I appreciate it.

  3. I think that friendship between the sexes is a powerful and fantastic thing. Here’s a thought though. When people get married, they become “one flesh”. If half of your flesh is having emotional exclusivity with someone of the opposite sex, how is that bound to affect the other person? I speak not as a critic of the book but as someone trying to strengthen my own relationship in a way that wont make the other person jealous or hurt.

    What I’ve come up with(after years of researching and interviews) is that men and women within a committed relationship CAN and SHOULD have and want to have friendships with those of the opposite sex. The only thing is that these friendships must include the other person in some way(some very obvious way), otherwise the emotional exclusivity of the relationship will hurt the other person.

    We take a look a look at this in kind of a joking manner on our blog and book, but we really do believe that men and women can have great platonic relationships within a committed relationship… we just need to understand and respect that men and women are wired to have deep intimate love with that one special person(think of all the movies that focus on this quest!… and not the quest to find a great friend of the opposite gender!) and to always keep that person in mind first and foremost(they are our own flesh after all).

    Just some thoughts : ) Check out our blog if you’re curious to learn more. We really want to get to the bottom of all this!


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