Can Men and Women Be Just friends?

Spoiler alert: The answer is NO. Read on from Dr. Tejado W. Hanchell to find out why he believes there cannot be platonic relationships between men and women. This article is featured on Churchleaders.com (You can also read an article in the Scientific American that agrees with Dr. Hanchell’s assertion here- http://www.scientificamerican.com/article).

Dr. Tejado W. Hanchell (TWH_PhD) who currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Mount Calvary Holy Church of Winston-Salem, NC (“The Church Committed to do MORE”) – the “Mother Church” of the Mount Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc., where Dr. Hanchell also serves as General Secretary and International Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry under the leadership of Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr.

photo via www.brucesallan.com

Dr. Hanchell: Let me state at the outset: I do not believe in the male-female platonic relationship.

Much like Santa Claus, the Abominable Snowman and the Tooth Fairy, there is very little evidence to prove its existence. In fact, there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

I have seen countless “friendships” ruined once one “buddy” decided to get into a serious relationship.

This is not to say that EVERY male-female relationship turns out this way. However, I believe that there are very few — if any — truly platonic male-female relationships.

Before you jump down my throat and tell me how much of an idiot I am (which I encourage you to do in the comments section), let’s get an understanding of what the word platonic really means. Platonic traces its etymology to the doctrines of Greek philosopher, Plato. In regards to relationships, it means a relationship that is “purely spiritual” and/or “free from sensual desire.”

Now, this is where the proponents of the existence of the platonic relationship say, “Well, I’m not attracted to him/her IN THAT WAY.” The need to qualify the statement, disqualifies the argument.

Also, notice that the presence of physical attraction is not the only thing that nullifies the platonic relationship. In order for a relationship to be considered truly platonic, it must be “purely spiritual.” I don’t know about you, but there are very few, if any, relationships in my entire life that have been purely spiritual.

I know some who have used the guise of spirituality to get close to someone of the opposite sex. That’s how so many late night “prayer meetings” have turned into all night “touching and agreeing”!

Or, how many times have you talked to a married couple who says, “We were friends for years before we started dating”? Did the desire to be “more than friends” develop on their first date? Or, more likely, did they begin to have feelings beyond friendship while one or both of them were still putting up the charade that we’re “just friends”?

As someone who, as a single man, always felt more comfortable having a lot of female “friends,” let me speak from my own personal experience.

I hung out with females all the time. We went to the movies, dinner, etc., and it never went beyond that with many of them. However, we often tend to define platonic relationships based upon actions, when they are really defined by feelings.

I may not have DONE anything with them, but that did not mean I did not FEEL anything for them.

On the other hand, I have no way of knowing how these women felt about me.

This, I believe, is the defining element in my argument against the existence of the male-female platonic relationship — you NEVER know how someone else truly feels. What you may consider a “friendship” may be the first step to courtship for the other person — you NEVER know.

Even if you ask, studies have shown that people will lie about their true feelings so as not to jeopardize the friendship (and any hope of it becoming more).

I’m not saying all of this to encourage you to cut all ties with all of your friends of the opposite sex. What I am saying is that we all need to carefully analyze the nature of our relationships, and be honest — especially with ourselves.

Most people who say they are PLATONIC … are really just PLAYING. Now, the male-female platonic relationship may actually exist, but just like with UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster … very few have seen it and lived to tell the tale.

Read this article in its entirety at Churchleaders.com

Read an article that also agrees aith Dr. Hanchell’s assertion here – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article

The Gift of Friendship and the Godliness of Good Friends By Kevin DeYoung

We talk a lot about relationships in the church. There are scores of marriage seminars, retreats, and conferences. There are video series and books for newlyweds and engaged couples. Most every church offers marital counseling and most every pastor preaches somewhat regularly on marriage. And the same is true for parenting.
There are dozens of books on raising children. There are Sunday school classes, blog sites, and ministries that focus on the parenting relationship. All this is good. But have you ever noticed we seldom study friendship? It is the most important-least talked about relationship in the church.
Think about your greatest joys in life. They probably center around your friends–the fun times hanging out, the great conversations, the laughter, the sharing, the pleasure of “clicking” (not cliquing!) with someone else or a group of people. And now think of the most painful times in life. No doubt, sickness and tragedy are on the list. And yet, oftentimes these difficulties are made sweeter by the support of friends and family.
But when friendship goes bad–when things get awkward or you feel like you are on the outside looking in–no amount of health and prosperity can fill the gap. Almost anything bad can be wonderful with friends, and almost anything good can be terrible without them.

The worst summer of my life was the summer I spent holed up in a cabin in the mountains of Colorado working on a national government textbook. For three months I worked 10 hours a day studying political science with a classmate and our college professor. We had no electricity (we charged our laptop batteries in town every day) and no indoor plumbing (we used an outhouse). But that wasn’t the main problem. I got used to the rustic lifestyle. The problem was the absence of friends. I was surrounded by amazing natural beauty, engaged in work that I liked fairly well, and allowed time every night and every weekend to read, run, or explore. But I was miserable because I felt all alone.


It’s surprising we don’t talk more about friendship in the church. Depending on how you define friendship, the Bible may have more to say about the friend relationship than it does about marriage and parenting. Further, I bet church “satisfaction” is largely based on two things. If you find happy churchgoers I wager you’ll find these two items present, and where church members are unhappy, I can almost guarantee these two things are missing: quality teaching and quality relationships. No doubt, there are many other important aspects of church life. But for most folks these are the two that matter most. People want a church that teaches them well (which includes sermons, songs, classes, and Bible studies) and a church where they can make friends. Read the rest of Kevin DeYoung’s  post below:

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