- Publisher: P & R Publishing (June 29 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781629954172
- ISBN-13: 978-1629954172
- ASIN: 1629954179
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #628,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Why Can't We Be Friends?: Avoidance Is Not Purity Paperback – Jun 29 2018
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"If we will be siblings in the kingdom, it's time we accepted our future for the sake of our present. This is the best book I have seen on this subject." -- Scot McKnight "Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament, Northern Seminary, Lisle, Illinois"
"I can't think of a more countercultural message . . . than a church marked by men and women who trade the fear of adulteryfor the freedom of appropriate sibling friendships. . . . Aimee shows us this better way." -- Jen Wilkin "Bible Teacher; Author of Women of the Word and None like Him"
"Aimee Byrd's plea for a recovery of [coed] friendships in the church . . . is timely. A provocative but irenic breath of fresh air on a contentious topic. . . . Highly recommended." -- Carl R. Trueman "Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College"
About the Author
Aimee Byrd is a Bible study teacher and author of Housewife Theologian and No Little Women. She also speaks at women's retreats, blogs about theology and the Christian life, and cohosts The Mortification of Spin podcast. She is married with three children, lives in Maryland, and is a member of New Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
From the Publisher
The conservative church has unwittingly joined with society to reduce men and women to nothing but their sexuality—with unfortunate consequences. When we treat each other primarily as threats to our purity, we miss out on the brother-sister relationships that God calls us to have in the church. Aimee Byrd delves into Scripture to show that the challenges in our relationships are not what we might expect, and the blessings are much greater.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A number of time she points back to Billy Crystal’s character in “When Harry Met Sally” where he says “Men and Women can’t be friends because sex always gets in the way.” She points out this is a lie a sex-saturated culture tells. It is not friendship, it uses people for what you can get. At the end of the book she points to some historic examples of men and women who had deep and personal friendship, including examples from John Calvin and Hannah More (close friend to John Newton & William Wilberforce). I found this illuminating and kind of icing on the cake of her argument, found myself saying “yeah, maybe we really have been overly influenced by our sex saturated culture in ways we don’t even realize”.
She does criticize the “Mike Pence Rule” [or Billy Graham Rule] a bit but mostly her point is you can’t turn it into a universal rule—she is clear that it may be necessary at times. We must use wisdom and examine our own hearts not simply make a rule. She even questions times when such a rule might actually keep us from fulfilling Christian duties of love and mercy (like giving someone a ride to the hospital). She is also clear there are some people you shouldn’t be friends with, and some Christians who are immature. What I also appreciated is she isn’t trying to “start a movement” or have a whole bunch of people rush out and make friendships with the other sex—but more just don’t be afraid of them or avoid them, they can develop properly. Live in Christian community with brothers and sisters in Christ; be the church.
She has some really good comments about friendship in general and even male-male and female-female friendship. I mentioned that on Twitter and she said she is basically trying to apply the concept “covenant community” to the issue of “can men and women be friends” and I think she succeeds. She has some excellent thoughts on holiness and our communion with God. Her argument as a whole begins with theology and Scripture and then works towards practical wisdom and advice.
Overall, the book deserves to be read. Christians should consider carefully how friendships, including friendship with the other sex, model our union with Christ and as part of one body. We should avoid sin and inappropriate behavior however, as Aimee demonstrates true and genuine friendship with the other sex can and should spur us on to holiness.
I'm not even halfway through and I love it.
Byrd easily argues that men and women can be friends, as long as the focus is through Christ and treating one another as the brothers and sisters that we are. She also points out where Big Mouths and Loud Voices get it Really Wrong (Some are just so out there that names need not be mentioned.). She knows her audience and she has done extensive research; almost every page includes footnotes and every chapter concludes with thought-provoking questions.
I can't recommend it enough or as strongly. BUY THIS BOOK.
As someone who has studied this issue for years as well as knowing deep ongoing significant experience, I wholeheartedly welcome this provocative book. Byrd's major argument is to look at the friendship question through the lens of spiritual siblings. I believe there are many theological entry points one could approach this subject (including the fact that Jesus calls us his friends) but spiritual siblings is a major theme throughout the New Testament. Byrd actually runs with it far deeper than what I have seen from some egalitarians.
Many egalitarians and complementarians are quite fearful of the "I" word in this subject. Intimacy. But through the sibling lens, Byrd takes us deep into what it means for men and women to revere each other, love one another, and befriend one another. Friendship, as she argues, should promote holiness. And, wait until you read her reflection on eating with one another.
I have already read some negative critiques of the book. These typically take a fearful, 20th-century Freudian position. These critics typically want to affirm the need for us to think deeper about siblingship, but then criticize Byrd for not being in tune with the deeper human element, that is sex and its ever-ready magnet to suck us all up into a dark vortex. While I agree we must be fully aware of sin and its power, we must be aware of underestimating sin's power to give us endless reasons not to love others as Christ would love them.
I love that Byrd uses "intimacy" and "healthy." We really can't have a conversation about friendships between men and women without somehow referring to how the therapeutic culture has shaped us. All over in major American cities across the land, the male-female therapeutic dyad is now a social norm. It doesn't matter which gender is the therapist, a man and woman meeting alone behind closed doors for intense conversations is a safe thing for many men and women. Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander (and committed Christian) recently said the church is one of the least safe places for abused. Yet, in many therapeutic dyads across the country female clients know safety, trust, and well-being meeting alone with male therapists (doesn't matter if the therapists are Christian or not). The safety of the therapeutic dyad--and the #ChurchToo movement--these two powerful cultural movements have significantly altered what well-being, safety, and intimate trust looks like between men and women.
Perhaps, just perhaps, spiritual siblings may find well-being, safety, and intimate trust. We need to rethink male-female intimacy and Byrd's book helps us do that. I have my quibbles with her complementarian convictions but I give this book five stars for her beautiful reflections on friendship.