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Forbidden Friendships: Retaking the Biblical Gift of Male-Female Friendship Paperback – August 10, 2015
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…Of course at the end of the movie, they fall in love and get married. Sorta migrates the point.
Even though the question is left unanswered in that classic, it is picked up and discussed by my friend and author, Joshua Jones in his just released book, “Can Christian Men and Women Be Friends?” The book is a quick read (I finished it in two sittings) but is able to bring to light many questions that should be addressed and many discussions that should be had.
One thing I love about it is that it takes into account more than just the North American church perspective. Joshua, as a missionary with international connections and perspective uses that influence to bring a more overhead view on the topic. Having lived my life in the North American evangelical world, I would expect a book like this to be the following….
Title: Can Christian Men and Women Be Friends?
Chp. 1: No!
I say that all only half in jest. So often I feel that the US church is so ready to throw out the baby because the bathwater seems a bit “iffy”. So what a surprise it was for me when I started reading it and Joshua said,
“Can Christian men and women be friends? Yes; and they can be more than just friends. They can be the Family of God “
(Joshua Jones, Can Christian Men and Women Be Friends?”)
Now, Joshua is no dummy. He’s been in the church a long time. He knows such a comment is met with a lot of buts!
…but what if it leads to inappropriate behavior?
…but isn’t that the way most Christian leaders fall?
…but what about the spouse if they are married?
…but what about “emotional adultery”?
…but what will Billy Graham think about you?
And he talks about it all openly and honestly. I think that’s what I like most about this book. I’ve never been comfortable with the approach that something good should be avoided because it has a very real possibility of going bad. The whole “It might not BE a sin, but maybe it SHOULD be” approach. On the other hand, there is a valid point in doing things in wisdom.
My youth pastor use to quote 1 Corinthians 14:40 and say that the church gets so worried about doing all things “decently and in order” that it forgets the first part; “do ALL things”. It’s all about balance, and that balance is in transparency, honesty and all in Christ.
So whatever your ad hoc answer is to the question Joshua asks in the title, I encourage you to pick up a copy of his book and use it to begin the discussion. Agree, disagree, argue for, against, but start the discussion in a open, transparent way. I feel this is another step in the family of God learning just what it means to not only love each other, but start learning to LIKE each other. What a concept!
The book challenges the reader to really look at themselves and their friendships with both sexes. It also serves as a reminder that as Christians we should always be motivated by love. Some churches have instilled a sense of fear regarding opposite sex friendships and it has hindered the richness and vitality of our faith communities as well as our individual walks with the Lord. To live a whole and balanced life, we all need the support and love opposite gender friendships can provide.
Forbidden Friendships is a must read for both Christian singles and married couples who are interested in building strong and meaningful Christ centered relationships.