Men mentoring women
On Jordon‘s blog there has been a lot of heat over the issue of women networking relationally with men. I think it is crucial that we frame this issue correctly.
On one side we have one group that believes that men mentoring women alone is a dangerous activity because it can lead to inappropriate sexual activity.
“I have friendships with many women, but I don’t go hang out alone with them in pubs – essentially, I don’t go on dates with them, and they don’t come over to my house when Liz is gone – that’s just widsom, nothing more. People can think that’s old-fashioned and male-centered all they want – whatever. They can also be unaware and end up getting divorced over an affair. I’ll stick with caution.”
On the other side this caution is perceived as a flaw in way men understand women.
“this conversation highlights how few spaces we have in our minds for women. Sexual partner seems to be the largest context for understanding our relationship to women”
I really don’t believe that Jen understands the issues here. This isn’t about men seeing women as sexual objects. This is the very rational concern that bad things can happen when men and women meet alone. This is no unfounded fear. Bad things do happen when men and women meet alone. I’ve heard countless stories from pastors who found themselves in potentially disastrous situations. The church is full of spiritual leaders who lapsed in to sexual sin. It isn’t just men who can’t keep their hormones in check. There are women who are strongly attracted to men with power. Sometimes women will falsely accuse a male pastor of sexual involvement.
It only takes one incident to ruin one’s marriage, career, ministry and hurt the local church. In my home town a woman made outrageous claims about being sexually abused by a local pastor. It went to court, the leader’s picture was posted in the paper. The whole situation was a complete disaster.
There are multiple ways in which people of both genders can be mentored and equipped. All it takes is one extra person to make things safe. Is this not a fair compromise given the incredible risks involved?