Cross Gender Friendships

Juliet Lapidos of Slate magazine has been writing a series on Friendships Between Men and Women this week. I highly recommend it. Especially, if you enjoyed Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions: Engaging the Mystery of Friendship Between Men and Women by Dan Brennan. Haven’t read it yet? What are you waiting for?

Seriously, the subject of Cross Gender Friendships is becoming a hot topic even outside of Evangelical Christian circles. Get in on the beginning of a trend…You heard it here first!

Published in: on 09/30/2010 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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 Using historical references and Biblical sources, Brennan breathes a breath of fresh air into the discussion.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.