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Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions: Engaging the Mystery of Friendship Between Men and Women Paperback – February 16, 2010
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Brennan's treatment of the subject matter is robust, "thorough, balanced, well-researched, and thought-provoking. Brennan offers a biblical foundation for his thesis, which I think is most important." --John Fortin, Catholic Philosopher
From the Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
The church is so focused on avoiding unhealthy sexual relationships and fostering healthy sex that it has done so to the detriment of friendships. What is left is a view of friendships that is impoverished, anemic, and legalistic. So many have bought into the influence of Frued and other cultural influences which have contributed to objectification, dehumanization, hyper-sexualization, and hyper-romanticism. We have bought the lie that men and women can't be friends, that all non-familial cross-sex relationships must always lead to sex, that we are just beasts that have no self-control.
Brennan rejects these beliefs. Using scripture and many examples of tradition he shows that this is simply not true. Men and women, even those who are married, can, and do, have healthy one on one relationships that doesn't lead to sex. The ideas in this book are exactly what the church most desperately needs. Legalistic boundaries cause more problems than they solve, and lead to the exact problems that they are trying to avoid. Boundaries are meant to encourage healthy relationships and vulnerability, not to build up a wall to protect people from these things. The problem isn't lack of boundaries, but lack of intimate relationships where men and women can know one another...only then will things such as pornography addiction, objectification, hyper-sexualization, etc be broken.
This book is a must read.
This book has forced me to consider the beauty of cross-sex friendship, to address feelings of shame in my own life, and to desire to push back against the Evangelical church teachings I experienced during my formative years. While the book offers more questions than answers, that's one thing I loved about it. Brennan invites us to consider the hard questions and wrestle with what the answers may be.
I have not read this book because I know that he is able to present information in an appealing way and he can be very convincing. I have given this book one star to help counter the positive impressions from people who have read the book but who don't know Dan at all or not very well. There may be some helpful information in the book; I know that he has read a lot and he depends on quoting others in order to support his ideas. I used to defend him, and then I protested to him and to a few others and then I finally went away feeling that I was the crazy one. Then I was simply silent for a very long time.
If you plan to read his book, please keep in mind that there are women who know him who are not represented in the book because they are the negative examples of his ideas turned painful in their lives. (See J. Roach's review as another example of a positive relationship turned negative. I have added some comments in response there are well.)
The problems is that there was an assumption that at least one of the guard rails would be to prevent any real friendships between men and women except marriage. I disagreed then, but did not have the language to express the problem until a few months later when I read this book.
Part of the calling of this book is for deep friendships, regardless of gender. But there is a special place where cross gender friendships affect us.
The central image of why male/female friendships can occur without romance is one of siblings. We are called brothers and sisters in Christ and Brennen calls us to actually think about and use this imagery to deeply relate to others.
There are some pretty big caveats that the relationships need to be among healthy people and chaste and open (if either are married) but I think even with those caveats many will protest.
I have hosting a discussion on my blog starting April 18, 2011 about this book. I don't think it has all the answers but I think it is a needed call to the church.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Waste of time. It is filled with proof-texting. Sources are gleaned from elsewhere and projected onto a very liberal Christian opinion and a naive understanding of human nature. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book explained clearly what I came to realize after 33 yrs of marriage! More marriages would be saved from divorce and even enhanced if we Christians would stop living... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Tanya Brown
This book created a significant personal difference in my life. Before I read Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions and became familiar with Dan Brennan's work, I had come out of a... Read morePublished on November 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This book is a must read, especially for Evangelicals, pastors or people interested in ministry leadership. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Emily
I have never written a book review before, but this book provokes one. Let me get the cons out of the way first: 1) it was hard to read for me because the book was structured very... Read morePublished on March 30, 2011 by Philip Hallstrom
Just yesterday I finished this book and cannot recall the last time the written word has affected me so strongly. Read morePublished on December 29, 2010 by KimD
Upon viewing an interview clip online for Dan Brennan's book "Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions," I immediately ordered this book and eagerly awaited its arrival. Read morePublished on November 17, 2010 by KBagato
Dan Brennan's book, supposedly, makes one main argument: Men and Women can share in deep, passionate, intimate friendships without sex. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Andrew Demoline