As followers of Jesus our highest calling is to follow Jesus first, safety second. Not safety first, and Jesus second. That’s why I am so looking forward to the next Sacred Friendship Gathering.
Yes, most of us know about a recent study which grabbed the headlines.
We also know that some Christians think bold boundaries translates as high walls. We have the best of intentions and we want to do the right thing. We build fences and draw lines in order to protect what we see as holy, sacred. This is good, admirable - but what if some of the boundaries we create are actually keeping us locked in from following Jesus?
What if our present understandings of boundaries in friendship between men and women actually fence us out from real growth, from real good, from real reconciliation???
Here are 8 solid reasons why you don't want to miss Bold Boundaries: Expanding Friendship Between Men and Women.
1. Alise Wright and Rich Chaffins.
This is going to be really special.
Rich is the worship director for Kingwood Christian Fellowship in Kingwood, West Virgina. He’s married to Misty.
Rich is friends with Alise Wright. She is married to Jason.
Their mutual love for music was “instrumental” in developing their close bond of friendship. They’re going to give their friendship story through words and music.
Not only that, but Alise is going to talk on “Love Without Boundaries.”
2. Elizabeth Chapin
Elizabeth is an adjunct professor for George Fox University.
I can’t wait to hear Elizabeth.
From waiting for true love, to kissing dating goodbye, and through the purity movement, Elizabeth has been helping youth and young adults in the church navigate cross-gender friendships for over 20 years. She is working on her first book about sex talks with girls.
She is going to be addressing the need for bold boundaries to start young. What kinds of messages do churches send teenagers about cross-gender friendships?
“Friends without Benefits?: Exploring New Boundaries in Teen Friendships”
Elizabeth has a Masters in Ministry Leadership and teaches ministry leadership and evangelism online for George Fox Evangelical Seminary. She is pursuing graduate studies in theology and gender at Seattle Pacific Seminary.
3. Kathy Escobar and Karl Wheeler
Can men and women serving together as co-pastors also enjoy close friendship? What happens when a married man and a married woman (but not to each other) work closely beside each other in planting a new church? Is it possible that the deeper the friendship between a man and woman disabuses sexual/gender power?
They will give us an inside peek into nurturing a close friendship as a beautiful expression of workplace sexuality within a local church. I'm eager to hear their story.
4. Hugo Schwyzer
I am so thrilled that Hugo Schwyzer is coming to speak and join us at the Gathering.
Hugo’s story is one of brokenness and redemption. Hugo has taught history and gender at Pasadena City College since 1993. Hugo has served as a facilitator, workshop leader, and speaker on issues revolving around sexuality, masculinity, and transforming self-image. He was a frequent contributor and the sex and gender editor for The Good Men Project Magazine.
Hugo wrote this powerful, provocative, and passionate article on “Beauty vs. Sexuality: Why the Fear of Lust Shames Both Men and Women” in Relevant Magazine in April 2012.
Over 6,000 people liked it on their Facebook.
He is also a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio programs and has appeared on CNN, the BBC, CTV, Current TV,the Young Turks and the Ricki Lake Show as an expert on body image, sexuality and gender justice.
Hugo's talk: Myths of Male Weakness Undermine the Possibility of Cross-Sex Friendship.
Plus he'll be hanging around with the rest of us as we talk about beauty, attraction, lust, and bold boundaries.
5. Jennifer Ould
I’m totally biased on this one because she’s my closest friend after my wife, Sheila, but partiality in knowing another deeply can also mean I know her strengths, passions, and giftedness. Jennifer has been shaped by many friendships with men throughout her adult life.
We took a wild and fun 12 day road trip to celebrate. The trip included speaking together about our friendship at The Wild Goose Festival.
She completed her MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with an emphasis on Academic Research and a thesis entitled, “Sexual Formation: Theology for Integrating Sexuality in Spiritual Formation for Evangelical Churches.”
You won’t want to miss Jennifer and her talk: “Adventures in Friendship: Going Off the Map.”
It's totally Jennifer.
6. Rose Swetman and Jim Henderson
Rose is the lead pastor of the Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline, Washington. Before Rose, Jim was the lead pastor of that church. Jim and Rose are married but not to each other.
Rose is also
an adjunct professor of the
Seattle School of Psychology and Theology.
He was a mentor to Rose in helping her to embrace her unique leadership gifts. Their friendship which started in 1986 was a boundary-breaking friendship for both men and women in ministry. They’re close friends. They’re peers.
Experience+ Depth+ Wisdom+ Boldness+ Risk+ Friendship=Jim and Rose’s story.
7. Jonalyn Fincher.
Jonalyn is a philosopher, author, blogger, wife, mother, and …. friend.
In October of 2012, Jonalyn created quite a buzz at Biola University. Her topic? Harry and Sally are Wrong: Why Christian Cross-Sex Friendships Need to Happen.
She has joined the front-lines in leading evangelical men and women to reframing the conversation about boundaries between men and women. I’m so excited that she’s not only stepped up to lead on this important topic but that she’s coming to the Gathering to hang out with us!
Jonalyn has been interviewed on issues of apologetics and womanhood by the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Christianity Today and BuzzFeed.
Jonalyn is married to Dale. They pour their heart and soul into Soulation.
8. Gathering Together
Coming together under one roof to hear, listen, ponder, process, engage, confess, dream, hope, inspire, and connect cannot be overestimated.
We’re in this together as we hunger for beauty, healing, hope, redemption, resurrection, and deeper discernment. We are gathering together as a community of men and women because we see friendship not as a mere private part of our personal lives. It is for the greater common good in our neighborhoods, communities, churches, and cities.
We welcome your voice and your story. The Gathering is designed for you to connect and share stories also. Do you have a story? You will have an opportunity to share it.
We will all share meals together. Your registration costs include the meals served during the Gathering. At last year’s Gathering, mealtimes witnessed this constant chatter between men and women because of energy, desire, curiosity.
Are you a leader? Pastor? On the worship team? Youth pastor? Therapist? Friend? This Gathering is gaining momentum, and it’s a safe place to ask questions and share stories beyond the limitations of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.
We think Jesus prays and calls men and women to oneness—a relational mutuality in friendship (John 17)—with a much greater depth than utilitarian friendship or instrumental usefulness.
Come to The Gathering in order to experience deep within your soul that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! This is axiomatic within the Christian Church. You will be greatly blessed by each of our speakers, by each of our sessions, by some darn good food, possibly even some great weather, but you will also feel accepted and loved by all.
Ultimately it is not our common vision or shared wounds or similar relational mistakes that unite us. The Spirit of the triune God will be joining our hearts; being gathered in one place as His blessed community will trump everything else you experience at Bold Boundaries.
Seating is limited. You should take advantage of the early bird special and register here as soon as you possible. You're not going to want to miss this historic event! We are daring to have a conversation about men, women, intimacy, friendship, and bold boundaries. We'll see you at Life on the Vine Christian Community in April! Spread the word! Visit our page: Sacred Friendship Gathering