Added: Francesca Countryman - Date: 30.01.2022 07:16 - Views: 14424 - Clicks: 717
After church one Sunday, Dan listened as I muddled through some thoughts for an upcoming retreat I was co-teaching with Stanford. I dismissed his encouragement with a laugh. But months later, when asked by a publisher if I had any book ideas, his words came back to me. Dan is one of a of men over the years who have been friends, allies, and encouragers to me. Emily Hunter McGowan, a lecturer at Wheaton College, recently tweeted her acknowledgment to two men who played pivotal roles in her life by naming gifts they saw in her and encouraging her to develop them.
Like me, many other women chimed in with similar stories of ificant men in their lives. And, like me, many of these women are married. Sexual indiscretions regularly make headlines. Pastors and other leaders now have to contend with the threat of polyamory. And a devastating of marriages are shaken and shattered by affairs. Naturally enough, we feel an urgent inclination to batten down the marital hatches and protect husband-wife relationships. In church circles especially, men and women have practiced social distancing of a sort for many years.
And more often than not, we outright avoid each other. Sexual infidelity ultimately from a lack of character, not a lack of constraints. After all, the safest dog in the neighborhood is not the one on the shortest leash but the one with the most discipline. People need meaningful relationships with members of the opposite sex, and they need them to be safe, honoring, and full of integrity. However, that forsaking applied only to the taking of other husbands and sexual partners.
It did not mean forsaking relationships with any and all men. The New Testament makes this calling clear. Men and women who are adopted by God the Father become brothers and sisters to one another in the family of God. The Epistles emphasize this conviction in their consistent address of believers as adelphoi : brothers and sisters in the family of God. See for example, 1 Thessalonians , , and as three of 15 references in that letter alone. The familial language of the gospel is ontological.
It describes a new reality of our being. And that is what we are! My goal is not so much to be friendly but to be familial , and this remains true regardless of my marital status. For in the body of Christ, do we not all need one another? I need my sisters and my brothers in Christ, and they need me. Cultivating healthy relationships between men and women within the family of God is something God calls us to as his beloved children.
Of course, this requires wisdom, character, self-control, and the ability of community. We are fallen and fallible and should not be glib about these or any other temptations. Yet God has called us to live as the family he has made us to be, which means that as a married woman, I must consider how to cultivate healthy, holy, and wholly appropriate community with the brothers God has given me. Especially in our current crisis, as we rethink how to do church and how to serve our communities, we need each other more than ever.
We cannot isolate along gender lines. Someday soon, when this pandemic is over, I will worship with Dan and Stanford, my brothers in Christ. I will worship and serve alongside other men, too, some as acquaintances but others as true friends. All of us in the global church will get to worship and serve together again.
And when we do, it will be wonderfully familiar and familial. She lives with her family in Northern California and serves on the pastoral staff of her local church. Find her on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter. To unlock this article for your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below.
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