My story on cross gender mentoring/counseling
I have a long personal history of encouraging and affirming women as leaders and ministers. I’ve spent a lot of time in the bible college context. I used to spend a lot of time alone with women. Looking back I recognize I had some mixed motives for doing this but part of what motivated was a sincere desire to see people fulfilled and encouraged. I have always had a heart for those who are shut out our unfairly disadvantaged. I am very sure that I’ve done all I could on many occasions to encourage women as leaders in the church.
A few years ago when I returned to bible college I continued to relate with and encourage as many people as I could. Men and women. Before the end of the year some people misinterpreted my actions. Rumours started. I was pulled in by the student life department and was told that a large group of women were uncomfortable around me. I was completely and absolutely devastated. I voluntarily sought out the people to find out what the issues were and I apologized to the entire school. Since that point I have been extremely cautious. Why? Because there was whole group of people that ripped my life apart and put me through the shredder even though I was doing my best to help. I felt betrayed and dishonoured. I honestly don’t believe I’ve fully recovered from the situation.
So when I read Jordon’s response to the comments on his post I lost it. I completely and totally understand what those commenters were talking about. Any leader, whether or male or female should be cautious about getting too involved with someone of the opposite gender. If they don’t they can get totally screwed over.
I believe that people are reading what I wrote in the context of some other posts which I am not. I am not responding to what Jenny Baker said or all the issues surrounding men and women interrelating. I am saying that it is fair for leaders to refuse to enter in to emotionally intimate relationships with people of the opposite gender. That is all. If you don’t think it is fair for leaders to do this than it is very clear you have very little understanding of the relationship dynamics of church leadership.