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The sexual escapades of powerful men are back in national headlines, highlighted recently by former Rep. Anthony Weiner, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Evangelical leaders have ...

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Displaying 1–16 of 16 comments

robyn

July 26, 2011  1:25pm

A private office with a glass window can solve a lot of problems. Bingo. Problem solved. Why does this have to be such a big deal? As long as we view one another as BROTHERS and SISTERS in Christ, we should be fine.

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card recovery

July 26, 2011  1:11am

Even I agree with the points that the article states that the strong friendship usually, trust and understanding among them prevents affairs.

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Will

July 25, 2011  9:13pm

Well, since a man was making that particular comment it shouldn't be surprising that it was from man's perspective. Perhaps you can excuse him for not presuming to speak for women!

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Matt Stephens

July 25, 2011  3:49pm

Very important clarification and contribution to the discussion! Thanks! :-)

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Wesley Brown

July 25, 2011  12:22am

Like who cares what people do with their own personal private lives, wake up Christianity is a control program of the elites.
http://www.exposingchristianit...

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Michael Constantine

July 23, 2011  5:35pm

Here's some great advice from a man who really knew how to work with women as well as men: Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. 1 Timothy 5:2, NLT

If we do that we will always honor every woman appropriately. We will reject all unworthy motives and fantasies, too. But I do think that even in this new and modern world, some old fashioned common sense will protect us. Great discussion! Thanks to all for your enriching thoughts.

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Dan Brennan

July 23, 2011  1:48pm

Old boundaries of segregation (do not eat alone with a member of the opposite sex you are not in romantic relationship with) may have been appropriate and made much more sense back in the 1950s. However, we've come a long waaayyy since then even with powerful men committing adultery.

Clearly, old boundaries of segregating between romantic and non-romantic relationships should be in place if 1) you wrestle with sexual compulsion and have a hard time resisting sexual urges, or 2) a member of the opposite sex is flirting with you, or 3) you have not had much deep, healthy emotional bonding with the opposite sex in any context (parent-child, sibling, or educational proximity), or 4) you are not in touch with your sexuality. Clearly, at least those four situations require wisdom in encountering members of the opposite sex, alone.

However, the virtue of chastity in the evangelical world should not resemble high-walled boundaries with open office doors of universal distrust or a reductionistic Harry Met Sally paradigm for all Christian men and women, leaders or mere lay priests (think 1 Pe. 2.). That would be nurturing a culture of fear and distrust. It would be no different than Hollywood's sexual paradigm (the Harry Met Sally). I suggest chaste love cannot be reduced to a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all moral paradigm. Indeed, part of Christ's own leadership and ministry suggests a chastity that doesn't nurture a culture of fear or irresistible sex as an outcome for getting close to the opposite sex. This article does clue us in on the ongoing struggle for evangelical women in ministries where friendship between the sexes is looked up with great suspicion. Speaking from my own limited perspective, beyond equality (in the abstract sense) what women yearn for in leadership/workplace is 1) to not be seen as a mere "instrument" (they are leaders not just for the sake leaders can get things done, but for who they are as persons and their unique gifts and talents). 2)to not be sexualized and segregated, 3) to nurture friendships with men for the common good of modeling chastity not bound to simplistic rules or paranoia. We live in a much different period of time than Billy Graham did at his prime.

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Thehilltopcc

July 23, 2011  10:28am

No amount of safeguards can shield a heart that merely gives earservice to God's word. Respect for the opposite sex will always be a distant second to the fear of God. Pragmatism, to be successful, must be deeply rooted in a holy love and fear of God.

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Tom

July 23, 2011  9:58am

Since a majority of seminarians are women, and an increasing number of women are serving as pastors and church leaders, I would be curious to hear Ms. Zylstra's view on this changing dynamic.

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Jenroach

July 22, 2011  11:28pm

I highly recommend Dan Brennan's book related to this topic, "Sacred Unions Sacred Passions" It's not like any other book on men and women relating that is out there in the Christian market. Its a very important book

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Tom Archer

July 22, 2011  6:36pm

The references to Weiner, Schwarzenegger, and Strauss-Kahn are all examples of boorish or abusive behavior even by secular standards and need to be recognized as such; they are not good examples of yielding to temptation. Better examples might be John Edwards, Kwame Kilpatrick and Prince Charles and on and on.

Extreme artificial barriers are a poor solution for the general case, may even be un-Christian and are an arguably immature approach. Proverb 6:27 cautions “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?” but only an extremist would conclude that means eschew all fire.

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DDaubert

July 22, 2011  4:29pm

This is a sad comment on humanity - no surprise. But church people ought to be able to do this and the story seems to take the approach that men used to be safer at work from such things - implying that the addition of women is the complicating issue. Maybe men are the complicating issue and implying that now that women are in the work place men are more likely to fall just shows how little we think of the capacity of men to simply behave. Sentences like, ""Men that are wise will be intentional about this," or "the boundaries men put on their workplace behavior" show that this article is still thinking from a world view where men are the norm and women are the add-on. Time for better thinking in these articles!

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JennyE

July 22, 2011  1:07pm

In addition to your spouse mentioning you positively and often at work, you can make yourself a positive presence at your husband or wife's place of work. I visit my husband's store, alone and with the kiddos. I briefly chat with the ladies he works with and have gotten to know most of them pretty well. I am Facebook friends with several of those women, and we share hair salon recommendations, kid stories, shoe compliments. Some of the younger ones babysit for our munchkins. I send cookies often. This type of safeguarding makes it easy for my husband to have meetings, etc. with the women he works with because he is aware of my confidence in our relationship and trust in him, AND, there is no way any of those ladies would do that to me!

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Mgcrites

July 22, 2011  12:42pm

"If you look back to Genesis and how women and men are created to be co-laborers, I get this image of men and women looking at the work, not at each other. … We need to learn how to redeem being co-laborers."

Just a thought - women and men weren't necessarily "created" to be co-laborers, husband and wife were created to be co-laborers. Working in the ministry with my wife for 25+ years (and now with our children) has been an edifying and enjoyable experience allowing each of us the freedom to work alongside other men and women together. Temptation is never completely eliminated (of course) but it is certainly reduced when ones spouse (and children) is involved and nearby.

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arshield

July 22, 2011  12:24pm

More people need to read Dan Brennen's Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions about the importance of cross gender friendships.

The most important part to this article is that he asserts, and I tend to agree, that strong friendships actually prevent affairs. When you see the other gender, both as friend, and brother or sister in Christ, there is an understanding created that can minimize temptation, while not restricting either men or women from workplace interactions or the benefits of having both men and women provide insight into church or Christian non-profit world.

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Eizabeth L

July 22, 2011  11:07am

Really interesting. I love Michael Hyatt's idea of talking often and lovingly about his wife. Jerry Jenkins is another who models that. In fact, speaking positively about our spouse is something we should all do in any circumstance! Having said that, there are challenges for women in leadership in evangelical circles, everything from what sort of attitude to display (too brash? too timid?) to how to deal with family needs. This needs to be addressed in more depth.

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