I (the wife of Dan Brennan who is hosting) will be attending Bold Boundaries this month (April 26-27) in Chicago. I want you to know why.
I intended to post this yesterday, but Mike Morrell’s Facebook headline that Rob Bell had married David Hayward (Naked Pastor) threw me for such a loop, I had to make an emergency phone call to Daniel to see what he knew about it. You see, I had not yet scrolled to the comment section. Working very earnestly all day, I had given no thought to April Fool. My scrolling finger had frozen in mid-scroll when Mike’s post rolled into view.
This entire episode convinced me that Monday, April 1st, was not the day to discuss Bold Boundaries out here in cyberspace. But now that we are safely removed from pranksters and pranks, I hope you’ll take me seriously.
Why am I going to Bold Boundaries? Right now some of you are rolling your eyes thinking “She’s Dan’s wife; she has to be there.” Excuse me? Did I hear that correctly? I have to go by virtue of my marriage vows? Seriously? Well if you’re thinking that, then your homework is to read all Dan’s posts for 2012 so you get a clear picture of how things work around here. Nuff said.
A reader writes to me: "It hurt me so bad when my pastor (who said I was his friend)
said one Sunday that he would never ride in the car with a woman alone even if
they were broken down that he would "throw his cell phone at them..hahahaha".
And this, of course, made me put myself in that place and experience how I would
feel if he saw me stranded. It was then, in my mind I had been reduced to no
longer a friend/sister, but reduced to a sexual object that he must
He also told me as a pastor he has to remain
"Though we hate to admit it, if we stay long enough in any relationship or set of friendships we will experience failure, doubt, burnout, loneliness, transitions, a loss of self, betrayal, frustration, a sense of entitlement, grief, and weariness."
"Friendship is the place where forgivness begins...The simplest slights can become unforgiveable if we don't practice forgiveness regularly."
"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
If you've seen the play, movie, or read the book, you know how powerful the reality of grace, forgiveness, and redemption is in Les Miserables. You have the lead character Jean Valjean, who steals silver from a priest (this after being released from prison and an unjust sentence of nineteen years) and the priest showing him grace and forgiving him.
Valjean's character changes. Then you powerfully see Valjean showing forgiveness to Inspector Javert. It's so free and powerful Javert has no place to put it.
If you become intentional in cross-gender friendship, sooner or later you are going to fail your friend or your friend is going to fail you. In honor of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday coming up, I thought I would share a brief reflection on failing in friendship.
It is not giving up power to accuse those who leave a church of losing any authority or stepping outside of the kingdom of God. That is using power to manipulate and guilt people into submission.
This is the second post reflecting on Julie Clawson's recent FB status. If you missed my first post it is here. Julie is reacting to white men who want us to follow their way of life in the kingdom of God. "Real" community for them is bound up in a tightly connected dynamic of death to self and submission to a local church.
3. The challenge of not conflating God's authority exclusively with death to self, submission and the local church.
"Why is it always white, middle-class, highly-educated males who argue that dying to the self for the sake of commitment and accountability to a local church despite disagreement, silencing, or abuse is the only way one can be a part of the kingdom of God? And who then say that experience and emotion are not valid ways of knowing so that they do not have to ever listen to such theological voices that challenged the theologies of privilege that support their places of power in the system while silencing others. I don't care if my view is 'Romantic' or birthed from identity politics, when men tell women and minorities that they just need to shut up and submit to abuse for the sake of Jesus I do not see the kingdom of God at work."
This is why there are going to be more women--including women who are pastors, theologians, and therapists at the Sacred Friendship Gathering this year than there will be white men (white men who are leaders). More evangelical women than men see friendship as a healthy path for healthy community and gender reconciliation. White men are vulnerable to continue to emphasize abstract systems designed with one-size-fits all solutions to authority, voice, and leadership.
There are huge challenges when educated white men emphasize the death of self, accountability within a local church as the only way for "real" Christian and spiritual experience and authority. Educated women in the 21st century like Julie get it.
written, Ann speaks passionately from the heart of a woman and mother who has
been raised up in the evangelical church.
about a lot good and important things but I would like to add some thoughts to
her incredible piece knowing full well I’m a white male and knowing I can’t
even come close to writing as well as she does.
I know much
has already been written on the Steubenville culture.
Jesus-followers speak hope into this darkness? Can Jesus-followers speak hope for women?
If you are
looking for a single woman wrestling with her singleness from a decisively conservative
Christian ethic then you may be interested in this book published by NavPress, Celibate Sex by Abbie Smith.
firmly to an ethic which includes no sex before marriage and no close cross-sex
friendships for women before or after they are married. She clearly
holds a distrust or suspicion about friendship between the sexes.
I was taken
by surprise that a book written on this subject in the twenty-first century
would devote so little space to male-female friendship. Although she
references several books after 2009, she never engages Singled Out by Christine Colón and Bonnie Field. I mention this
book because it is written by two evangelical single women who seriously
explore the possibility of cross-sex friendships.
those who hold such a conservative view for their own personal boundaries.
Hi. My name is Doug Webster (a.k.a. D. L. Webster). I am a follower of Christ, a writer/blogger, audio engineer, web developer, musician, friend, etc. from Indianapolis. I heard someone ask, "Why do we need a conference on friendship?"
Dan has done a great job of showing how we could be doing so much better at something which seems so familiar. But more than that, he shows why this is important to following Christ.
The Sacred Friendship Gathering brings together some of the most wonderful, thoughtful Christian leaders and visionaries from around the country into a small, intimate gathering.
I am very much looking forward to seeing the people I met last year as well as making new friends. I am also looking forward to hearing the speakers--everyone who spoke last year was interesting. The bottom line is this: we want to learn to love people the way Jesus does. And Bold Boundaries will be a great encouragement to break through the barriers and do just that!
We've become so sub-incarnational in friendship, distancing ourselves away from embodied delight in our friend's embodied presence. Delight in your friend is a part of moral and spiritual formation. Evangelicals typically focus on the intellectual part of delight in friendship. But Diana Fritz Cates, in her classic book, Choosing to Feel: Virtue, Friendship, and Compassion for Friends steers us back to embracing incarnation and friendship:
“Intimate character-friends not only respect each other’s goodness and experience a kind of “intellectual pleasure” in the sharing of conversation and other activities. They also long for each other’s company. They are physically and emotionally stirred and delight by each other’s embodied presence...
“Friends can and do choose, for example, to engage in activities that bring them sheer delight in each other’s embodied presence. They can and do choose to take up new activities with each other when the fire in their relationship begins to smolder. They can and do choose to cultivate ways of perceiving each other that highlight each other’s most attractive intellectual, emotional, and physical qualities. True enough, character-friends are attracted to each other chiefly on the basis of each other’s character, but it cannot be denied that a person’s character often finds partial expression in things like her physical appearance and her level of physical fitness. Friends can and do choose, to some extent, to attend in their passionate perceptions to those physical expressions that bespeak what they take to be each other’s most lovable qualities of character. They can and do choose, to some extent, to regard tenderly those expressions that bespeak each other’s deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses.”
Hi. I'm Kisha, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Indianapolis, IN and second-year seminary student at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. What I appreciated about last year's Sacred Friendship Gathering, is that there were people there from all over the country. It was amazing to meet so many new faces and connect with other people who are just as progressive in their thinking as I. The atmosphere was fun, laid-back, and non-judgmental.
I totally LOVED it!
I am returning this year just because I like Dan so much. LOL! No, but seriously, I am really looking forward to meeting more new people to connect with and network with via Facebook and elsewhere. I have grown to deeply value the relationships that I have established with the people that I met at SFG last year. To be honest, they are now some of my most deeply valued relationships, and I look forward to establishing more.