As of June 2012, Jennifer O. and I are celebrating our tenth anniversary as friends. We wanted to do something very special. We started talking back in August of last year about the possibility of doing a road trip in June 2012 to celebrate our friendship.
"He makes us love all that he loves, for his love's sake,
and makes us take pleasure in him and all his works."
Julian of Norwich
"The recovery of play is an invitation to friendship. Playfulness means the devalutation of control. Play involves the capacity to trust and surrender. So also with friendship... In the midst of giving myself over to the experience, there seems to be a spontaneous movement from my own enjoyment to enjoyment of my friend." James Nelson, The Intimate Connection
I remember reading this four plus years ago before I had written Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions. Is there is a healthy wildness to play between cross-gender friends that is delightfully free and a deep affirmation of God's splendor and goodness for men and women?
I think play is definitely a part of what is included for men and women to be fully alive. If I could translate St. Irenaeus quote for today: "The glory of God is men and women fully alive--and playing together." Is there is a healthy wildness to play between cross-gender friends that delightfully promotes the glory of God in the here and now?
"I account that one of the greatest demonstrations of real friendship is, that a friend can really endeavor to have his friend advanced in honour, in reputation, in the opinion of wit or learning, before himself."
My conversion from a complementarian to an egalitarian did not begin with exegesis or my marriage. It began because of an ongoing close friendship I had with a single woman. I know that’s an unusual, out-of-the-box, way to a paradigm change but that’s how it all started for me.
I know for some it is shocking. My shift started not with Bible study but with intimacy and an outworking of mutuality with my friend. I saw strong leadership gifts in my friend, and I wanted to call them out. But I was a complementarian. What was I going to do?
Diana Fritz Cates in her academic book, Choosing to Feel: Virtue, Friendship, and Compassion for Friends muses on friends who choose to share deliberations and choices. Had to share this excerpt on friends, differences and mutual flourishing: