Guest Post for Rachel Held Evans

On Mondays, Rachel usually blogs about something related to sexuality. I am honored today to share with you a rework of the speech that I gave on Friday at Wild Goose about friendship and sexuality, which is kind of a rework of this series of posts about friendship and attraction. We often talk out of both sides of our mouths. We encourage intimacy, but at the same time, we talk about guarding our hearts. Intimacy requires that we let our guard down, and yet, when it comes to friendship that might include any kind of attraction, we build walls to protect us. But we often don’t talk about just what those walls end up cutting us off from. As we are based more on fear, rather than on love, we cut ourselves off from the kind of intimacy that allows us to really rejoice with those who rejoice … [Read more...]

Prayer Under the Magnolia

Magnolia

"Let's pray." +++ The previous two days in Chicago had been very full. As soon as Rich and I landed in Chicago, we made a beeline for Lou Malnati's for some traditional Chicago deep dish pizza. We sound checked and ate a late supper and met some of the other presenters for the conference. The next day we sang and listened and took notes. At the end of the day, we ate waffles that would have made Leslie Knope proud while we talked about our presentation the next day. We had listened to one speaker after another present powerful ideas, backed with history and important quotes and lots of professional experience. To say that I was intimidated would be a bit of an understatement. I was flat scared. But we knew that we were there to tell our story, so we figured out how we wanted to … [Read more...]

Repost: Love as the Boundary

Don't_lean_on_the_railing_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1204336 (2)

I'm currently sitting in a hotel room in Chicago, getting ready for two days filled with stories about love and friendship. Part of that will be Rich and me sharing our own story about how we discovered deep, intimate friendship through music, and also through the direct sharing of said music. I am honored to have the opportunity to talk about how my friendship with Rich has changed my life. In honor of the Sacred Friendship Gathering, I want to repost this piece I wrote a year ago about friendship and how, rather than pointing to specific rules about how we're to interact, Rich and I choose love as the boundary. +++++++++++++++ At the Good Women Project, Anne Wilson wrote a piece entitled Boundaries: No One Is Above An Affair. To close the piece, she wrote the following: Love … [Read more...]

What “Best Friend” Means To Me

trophy

Recently, Sarah Bessey wrote about her circles of friendship. I loved this post because in an age where we "friend" people who we might not recognize if we passed them on the street, it's good to have ways to explain what we mean when we talk about our friends. I don't have nearly the well-thought out categories that Sarah shares, but I do have people who I consider to be "best friends." I have my husband Jason, my friend Tina, and my friend Rich. They are all my best friend. Jason is my best friend because he shows me that honesty is worth pursuing even when it's hard. He makes me laugh better than anyone else. He is the first person to support me when I want to pursue my dreams. Tina is my best friend because she knows all of the words to Flood by They Might Be Giants. She … [Read more...]

The Messy Business of Intimate Friendship

Hiding

Because I’m a bit of a novice speech-giver, I have been working on my presentation for the Sacred Friendship Gathering for a little while now. I’ve been pulling together my thoughts about the topic of love without boundaries, culling my blog for tweetable quotes, and combing through the Scripture for examples of various friendships. That last one has been a bit eye-opening. Not because I haven’t read these passages before. Stories about friendship always resonate with me. My two favorite books are Charlotte’s Web and A Prayer for Owen Meany, both of which deal with close friendships. So stories in Scripture about friendship have always held a special place in my heart simply because I love those kinds of tales. But in reading them again, I discovered something about these stories … [Read more...]

What I get from my cross-gender friend

friends

This post is part of the February Synchroblog “Cross Gender Friendships”.  See the full list of participants at the bottom of this post. I write about cross-gender friendship with some regularity, but I don’t often write about why I have a male best friend. Here’s the deal – I have a male best friend because that’s just how it worked out. We drove together to a couple of gigs, found out that we're basically the same person, and decided that we wanted to be best friends. I wish it was more dramatic than that, but honestly, that’s how close friendship often works. You find someone who “clicks” and you become friends with them. I think most of the time when we enter friendship with some kind of motive, we will be disappointed. But now that I have a cross-gender friend, what does … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 5)

Friendship & Attraction

On Friday, I wrote about why I hate the phrase "emotional affair" and discussed what emotional infidelity is not. But as much as I think we overuse the phrase, emotional infidelity can absolutely occur in marriages, and it can be very damaging to the marriage relationship.  As I mentioned in the last post, fidelity is, "faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support." I'd like to break it down to its most basic parts, which I think could be "continuing faithfulness." Attachments that interrupt that continuing faithfulness are what I would like to discuss here. I don't believe that any one person can meet all of our emotional needs. Early in our marriage, I thought that Jason was supposed to meet all of my needs. As a result, I felt emptiness … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 4)

Friendship & Attraction

I recently spent some time on the phone discussing cross-gender friendship with a friend of mine. She and a married man recently discovered that they were developing a close friendship. They had read my three previous entries on friendship and attraction, but still had some questions, so we found a time when we could talk for a bit. The most pressing question that she asked, and one that I know plagued me when I first entered the realm of cross-gender friendship was, "What is emotional infidelity?" Honestly, even if people will grant that you might not knock boots with your opposite-sex friend, there is still a good chance that you'll be warned about having an emotional affair. This is of particular concern among those in the Christian community. First, I’d like to say that I find … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 3)

Friendship & Attraction

I hadn't really anticipated writing a part 3 to this series, but I was asked a really common question in part 2 that I felt like deserved its own post. Jessica asked: When, in your opinion, should cross-gender friendship be avoided? This tends to be a question that comes up regularly in this discussion. Before I get to answering it, I want to say that this question tends to be rooted in the danger and fear narrative. We would probably not ask when a same-gender friendship should be avoided. Our tendency is to assume that those should be taken on a case by case basis. So I would suggest that the question itself reveals a little bit of our thoughts regarding cross-gender friendships. That's not a bad thing, but I think we need to be aware of that. With that out of the way, the main … [Read more...]

Bold Boundaries: The Sacred Friendship Gathering

Bold Boundaries

  I'm taking a break from our discussion of The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse to let you folks know about something that is near to my heart. Last April, I had the opportunity to attend the Sacred Friendship Gathering and blog about it. You can read the recap of the weekend here and here. It was an amazing event and I was honored and touched to have an opportunity to hear people share openly about their cross-gender friendships. I had a chance to talk through some of my own concerns and frustrations with people who were further down the path and they helped give me the language that I needed to sort through some of my own issues. It was a very exciting opportunity and it changed how I spoke about my friendship with Rich. This year I have the privilege of being one of the … [Read more...]