A tweet led to a couple of blog posts that looked at the issue of why evangelicals suffer because of a lack of cross gender friendships. Evangelicals sexualize quite a bit in their culture. And that can’t be truer when it comes to friendship. This post encourages people to read two posts about the problems created by the lack of cross gendered friendship evangelicalism.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Do you not know that you[c] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV
When I was in Campus Crusade at Marquette University in Milwaukee I went on a retreat that was in La Crosse, Wisconsin. They brought together a lot of people who were student leaders to have a retreat and discuss a lot of issues. Before the retreat I had heard about the warning about being alone with a female. So I raised my hand and asked the Crusade leader about prayer alone with a female leader in Crusade. The regional director of Campus Crusade then proceeded to answer and warned me about being alone with females. Worse was prayer as females were vulnerable to sin during prayer. Guys were warned about not praying alone with females. So as a good evangelical at the time I took in the information and processed it. And I worked at avoiding such friendships.
Today in reflecting back I am stunned by how sexualized evangelical culture can be. In evangelicalism so much is sexualized. Dare I say it…but its almost like evangelicals can be more sexualized than the secular culture they criticize and attack. I had to process out of evangelicalism to see and realize this issue quite a bit.
DeVon Wade wrote a Tweet that led to a blog post by Libby Anne that looked at why evangelicals do not have cross gendered friendships. Consider what she said.
In evangelical churches, any cross-gender relationship is always, always, always portrayed as dangerous. The moment a teenage girl and boy get friendly, adults in the congregation start watching them like a hawk—in their view, the only end point such relationships can possibly have is either marriage, or premarital sex. And that, of courses, would be bad.
Once someone is married, opposite-gender friendships the perfect opportunity for affairs, so they’re not exactly smiled on there, either! Someone who maintained a close opposite-gender friendship after marriage would be viewed as asking for trouble. And potentially worse — they might be taken aside by an elder, or even experience church discipline.
Evangelicals are well known for their divorce rate. The great commandment was go out into the world and have has many divorces as possible. Oh wait, sorry, my bad Jesus didn’t say that at all. Just forget that was said. Is the reason why evangelicals have so many divorces because they can’t have friendships at all that are cross gendered? Are they set up for failure in that context? This topic was discussed at two blog posts that The Wondering Eagle would like to promote. You can read more at The Friendly Atheist in, “The Lack of Opposite-Gender Friendships Among Evangelicals is Itself a Problem.” Then the original blog post that led to the article is, “Evangelicals Don’t Do Opposite-Gender Friendships (Here’s Why).”