Christ-centered relationships are shalom-filled relationships. To turn toward an all-encompassing shalom is a turn toward safety, trust, rest, security, healing, justice, wholeness, and the power of redemptive healthy love in relationships.
In this blog series, I’m looking at five tremendous things about shalom-filled relationships. I am borrowing the phrase “tremendous thing” right out of the classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web. Friendship as a personal relationship has the wild and glorious opportunity to be a shalom-filled relationship. I think an overwhelming majority of Christians would affirm that last statement.
The tricky, weird, and messy part of this boundary-shifting conversation is when we insert the qualifier “cross-sex” or “cross-gender” (or whatever your preferred term is) before friendship.
Suddenly, we check out, we disengage, we retreat, or we vigorously seek to qualify what we mean. Friendship between men and women in evangelical sub-culture, to borrow the language from the atheist Antony Flew, “dies the death of a thousand qualifications.”
Must Christian friendship between men and women die the death of a thousand qualifications? Must cross-sex friendship die the death of a thousand qualifications in the presence of the evangelical romantic empire?