Mark your calendars for a real, authentic, healing and provocative conversation on friendship between men and women. More details will be coming soon. April 26-27 2013 in Chicago! For two days we will be asking questions so many churches are afraid to ask and explore. We'll be hearing life-giving, redemptive stories. Sacred Friendship Gathering is committed to exploring the journey of friendships between men and women in the 21st century.
In case you missed these or haven't read some of them, off the top of my head these are my top ten links on cross-sex friendship. I didn't include any of my posts. These are from the good links out there compiled into one post.
"To be human, is to belong...Belonging is deep...This is the appropriate art of belonging in friendship: friends do not belong to each other, but rather with each other. This with reaches to the very depths of their twinned souls. True belonging is not ownership; it never grasps or holds on from fear or greed. We seem to have forgotten the true depth and spiritual nature of intimate belonging."
John O'Donohue, Anam Cara
This rich observation by O'Donohue is at the heart of all healthy, vibrant, robust friendship. It's true for male friendships, female friendships, and male-female friendships. We all long for this withness, I believe, because we were all created from Triune withness. This is the path to happiness, beauty, freedom, love, intimacy, commitment, connection, and friendship. We long for this connection that is free of ownership but yet with deep connection of belonging in friendship.
My friend, author, apologist Jonalyn Fincher drew a rather large crow at the evangelical Biola University last week. Her subject? Friendship between men and women. From all accounts, there was a great hunger to explore an issue that was unthinkable for evangelicals just a few years ago. It's such a joy to be joined on the front lines of this conversation with someone who is so gifted. It's been a great pleasure to see the front lines growing.
A Biola student commented on Jonalyn's FB wall the day after: "Everywhere I go on campus, people are having conversations about your workshop topic yesterday. They agree/disagree, but they are having edifying dialogue about it. Thank you for making waves."
Also on the day after, I had the deep honor and blessing of meeting Jonalyn face to face for the first time. Such a joy for me to hear her report of her talk the previous night.
What is so striking and refreshing about Jonalyn's approach to this is that she is open to the fullness of goodness and beauty in cross-sex friendship. Friendship between men and women is something which can be engaged with one's whole heart in learning to receive and give. This wholeheartedness is not about throwing caution to the wind or just letting it all hang out. It is about following Jesus and learning to love one another with their whole hearts and bodies as Jesus loved.
My beloved wife, companion, lover, partner, and best friend of 31 years
Here we are celebrating 31 years!!!
Can you believe it? I wish I could
tell the world what an amazing wife, partner, companion, and friend you are.
Whatever words I could put together, they wouldn't be able to convey the great
gift you have been to me for these 31 years. I loved your passionate love for
Jesus 31 years ago. I've seen that love up close now for three decades and there
are no words for how you have again and again inpsired me to love Jesus more and
Of course, in our journey to follow Christ, we came upon two roads which
diverged and we took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference
in the world. I've known your strength. You're a woman with great courage and
strength. I admired you when you gave up a promising professional career in
order to be a stay at home mother. I saw you pour your heart and soul into
Jonathan for all of his childhood. You loved him with a fierce love and you
still love him with a fierce love.
Years later, when it became evident the Lord was calling me to write a
provocative book on cross-gender friendship you became my strongest advocate and
supporter. I was able to deepen my friendships with women because you stood with
me and behind me with a cherished trust.
As the Lord has led me to explore intimate cross-gender friendship with
very few role models or scripts you have been my partner cheering me on where
others were afraid to go. It was your enthusiastic trust in me which inspired me
to explore the depths of deep love and trust in cross-gender friendship. When I
began exploring the possibility of Sacred Friendship Gathering, it was your
support and trust which inspired me. When we started about talking about the 12
day road trip with Jennifer Ould this past summer, it was because of your
trust and support which allowed me to enjoy Jennifer and our trip with the
fullness of sacred blessing.
All this has strengthened our trust and love for each other. Of course,
some of my critics tell us this is not supposed to work this way. It's supposed
to undermine marriage. My ongoing shared intimacy in my friendships with
Jennifer Ould, Susanne Osborne and others has created an upward spiral of trust,
partnership, companionship, and love between us. We both see the deep beauty,
truth, and glory of sharing a fierce and passionate love for our closest friends
knowing such love can strengthen and stir our love for each other.
I cannot even
begin to tell you what it means to share my deep delight in Jennifer and Susanne
with your full acceptance, unwavering trust, and sweet support. You have been so
tender with me and for them when I have shared their struggles with you. You
have also expressed great joy when I have shared their joy. It's been so
beautiful to see your passionate love for my closest friends. You know you are
my best friend. Yet you know the glory of a spouse married to their best friend
but enjoying best friends beyond marriage.
In my wildest imagination, I could not have conceived of this.
No turning back! Looking forward to the next year with you!
You are the wind beneath my wings!
I so celebrate you and our marriage. I glory in Christ because of you and
"Soul friends can be safe mirrors who help you see the truth about yourself and love you enough to walk with you to a place of healing and life. They are for you. For your life. For your freedom. For your growth and maturity. They don't want to miss one thing God has for you...These kinds of conversations have the effect on our souls of helping us sit down at the table of transformation. They help us stay in the chair just a bit longer, and they help us come to God more open and yielded and willing." Mindy Caliguire, Spiritual Friendship
So looking forward to next Saturday night (20th) when I will be hanging out with The Refuge in Arvada Colorado and talking about how friendship (yes, cross-gender friendship) heals. Looking forward to connecting with Kathy Escobar and The Refuge community. It should be a great conversation!
Also, if you are in the neighborhood on Friday night, The Refuge will be hosting their first theology camp: Patriarchy.