“All adults should cultivate attunement.”
What kind of skills, practices, and virtues shape a male-female friendship into a friendship of spiritual depth, passion, and sustained intimacy? I’ve been asking that question myself for seven plus years. My blog is largely devoted that question. It’s become a passion of mine.
If you were raised an evangelical or converted in an evangelical church, chances are pretty good you have heard very little about spiritual friendships between men and women. There is a huge void among evangelicals when you start to explore what deep authentic transforming relationships look like between men and women who are not married to each other.
Besides marriage, evangelicals have none. They just don’t.
Nancy Sherman, a philosopher from Georgetown introduced me to desire and attunement in friendship when I was at the Baylor conference on friendship in 2007. Then Catholic scholar and respected Northwestern University professor Cristina Traina introduced me to the virtue of erotic attunement in her book, Erotic Attunement: Parenthood and the Ethics of Sensuality.
Recently she has appealed to pastors to grow in the virtue of erotic attunement in a chapter entitled “Erotic Attunement” in a new book, Professional Sexual Ethics. Fasten your seatbelts because eros as a desiring love (much broader than sexual love) is flourishing in various Christian traditions. In this new book devoted to sexual ethics to pastors—not to theologians—but pastors that’s been selling quite well on Amazon, Traina has a chapter devoted to the ethics of erotic love (again more broadly speaking) for pastors. My thoughts in this post are largely drawn from Cristina Traina and applying them to male-female friendships.