Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Worth Reading Wednesday: On Friendship

Last year around this time, I became aware of something called the Sacred Friendship Gathering, because my friend Katie Driver was speaking at it.  The Sacred Friendship Gathering seeks to affirm friendships between men and women.  The SFG believes that healthy friendships between men and women help accomplish:
  • promoting understanding
  • demystifying the opposite sex
  • desexualizing interactions between men and women
  • overcoming sexism in our churches and communities
  • helping us tap into our deep longing to reflect the image of God
  • helping us enter into the deep unity and communion God desires
Friendships, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, can be hard no matter what.  We often call people friends when they really are just acquaintances.  In general, there is often a lack of intimacy and trust with people (this is especially true, if like me, you have moved around a lot and have to start over making friends each time).  There are a lot of questions about who can and cannot be friends.  Should men and women be friend?  Should an employer and employee be friends?  Should a pastor and congregants be friends?  (For the record, I think anyone can be friends with anyone else).

Here are a few articles about whether or not pastors should be friends with people in the congregation.  The first article says no, while the others are a response to it and say yes.

"Pastor, Not Friend" by M. Craig Barnes

"Pastor AND Friend" by Landon Whitsitt

What do you think?  What boundaries, if any, should friendships have?  Are there any people who should never be friends?  What about these articles in particular?  Should a pastor be friends with her congregation?  If  not, who should her friends be?

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