"In our society, there is a ubiquitous void of meaningful friendships, of relational intimacy, on any level. Much of this is caused by the oversexualization of all relationships (between men and women, between men, and between women) such that we are alienated from intimacy in any form. This has not only destroyed trust between the sexes but has created the loss of deep, caring, and intimate friendships within the sexes (men and women). The church’s failure to speak to this loss of friendship has been deafening. Instead we have capitulated to our sexualized culture. Indeed we have often institutionalized these failures and have separated the sexes and called it “living above reproach.”
I can't think of a more urgent reason than this. White male pastors have sexualized relationships in our faith communities (the overwhelming majority of pastors in evangelical churches are white male pastors).
It's time to have an important conversation about bold boundaries in friendships rather than perpetuate ongoing fear and sexualization in our churches. To stop with the peacemaking that simply nods. Let's stop with a superficial peacekeeping among pastors. Let's start making friendships between and women intentional.
In five days, at Bold Boundaries, men and women, leaders and pastors are gathering together to share how a vision of friendship between men and women desexualizes the current, deep sexualization within evangelical communities and leaders. It's going to take some courage to have a daring conversation about men and women moving forward in the 21st century.
Pastors like Kathy Silveira Escobar and Karl Wheeler, will be sharing their story. Emily Maynard and Jennifer Ould as single women will be courageously sharing their unique perspectives as singles living in a sexualized institution known as evangelical church. Elizabeth Chapin, professor at George Fox, will be talking about young friends without benefits. Jonalyn Grace Fincher will bravely talk about the beauty of a modesty of heart instead of the modesty police culture. Hugo Schwyzer on the myth of male weakness. Alise McCoy Wright and Rich Chaffins will be giving their story as worship leaders.
The only conference this year devoted to men and women learning as friends to break through sexualized paradigms in faith communities. Still some seats left.