My friend Kathy Escobar and I will be telling our story and we would just love it if you could come. Who knows, it may increase your intimate friendship circle by 50%!
Take the following with a grain of salt and consider the source. Hang on until the end, the point is coming…
Do you know why Christian camps make a long list of strict rules about who can be where after dark? So they won’t have sex.
Do you know why some churches have full-time singles pastors, usually married, to oversee the singles? So they won’t have sex.
Do you know why churches have open door policies if a man meets with a woman? So they won’t have sex
Do you know why cross-gender relationships have been discouraged in the Church? So they won’t have sex.
I have yet to meet someone who chose to not have sex because it was against company policy.
When I met my wife, I instantly wanted to have sex. I was 19, in a conservative Bible college, and a virgin. Like never even close to not being a virgin, virgin. She was and is a beautiful woman. We began to court, and early on decided that a life together was our plan. If you had asked me then why I love April and want to marry her I would have lied to you. I would have said it was her character, kindness, “best friend-ness”, spiritual depth, and many other truths about her. But none of these were the real reason. I could have never said it out loud, but I mostly just wanted to have sex. I admit it, I had a very narrow view of attraction.
That was a long time ago. We have been married 32 years. If you were to ask me why I want to be with April for the rest of my life, my most honest answer is I don’t really know. I do know that I am attracted to her, however sex would not even make the top 10 reasons. That is not to say sex is not an important part of our lives, but we would make it if some tragedy took that gift away. I am, without hesitation just attracted to her. And I cannot say exactly what I am attracted to. Attraction is so much more than sex.
I am attracted to all of my friends, male and female. But I cannot tell you why. My friends are an eclectic bunch, dissimilar in most every way, what is common is my attraction. Attraction is the unexplainable, no need to defend it, deep human experience that both draws and bonds me to another human being. I believe all deep, intimate relationships transcend any ability to fully know why one person is in my deepest circle of trust and not another. It is a mystery. It was what I call attraction.
I understand that good relationships require more than attraction. Good friendships need hard work, change, confrontation, and forgiveness to name a few. But those skills are not enough for me to give my heart to someone.
Only once, and that was long ago, did sex dominate my attraction. Yet, the fear of a possible adolescent impulse has prohibited men and women from enjoying the depth of intimate friendship. To isolate a beautiful part of being fully human, the gift to be able to have a mysterious connection and desire to trust a person to just sex is a grave tragedy.
My early experiences in full-time ministry of strict rules regarding men and women, and advice from mentors, scared me from forming sacred friendships with women. The principle I was to follow was to not “give the appearance of evil”; therefore I could not go to coffee with a woman who was not my wife. Think about that: having a female friend is not only discouraged (this was strongly taught) but it was in fact possibly evil.
Reality? If I were to be having an affair I have a hunch I would not be hanging around public places flaunting it.
It is a tragedy that cross-gender friendships have not been encouraged. It would be great if you could join us in Chicago to begin to repair the destructive messages we have learned. http://sacredfriendshipgathering.com/
here are some others who will be part of the sacred friendship gathering:
Kathy Escobar: The Road to Equality is Paved with Friendship
Jim Henderson: Jesus Had A Thing For Women and SO DO I
Chris Jeffries: Best of Both
Jeremy Myers: Are Cross-Gender Friendships Possible?
Lynne Tait: Little Boxes
Glenn Hager: Sluts and Horndogs
Jennifer Ould: A Different Kind of Valentine
Alise Wright: What I Get from my cross-gender friend
Maria K. Anderson: Myth and Reality: Cross-Gender Friendships
Liz Dyer: Cross Gender Friendships And The Church
Marta Layton: True Friendship: Two Bodies, One Soul
Jonalyn Fincher: Why I Don’t Give out Sex Like Gold Star Stickers
Elizabeth Chapin: Fifty Shades of Friendship
Doug Webster: Expressing Love Outside of Romance