Monday, May 25, 2020

Review: Beyond Awkward Side Hugs by Bronwyn Lea

by Bronwyn Lea
Foreword by Christine Caine
Thomas Nelson
Non-Fiction / Religious / Self-Help
224 pages

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Weird
When it comes to relationships between men and women, we have more questions than answers:
  • How do we keep relationships with the opposite sex healthy—and still hug each other after small group?
  • Is it possible for married men and women to be friends with people of the opposite sex?
  • What does it mean to be a woman if you’re not a wife, or a man if you’re not a husband?
Jesus’ pattern for church living was one of family—of brothers and sisters living in intimate, life-giving community with each other. With story, sensitivity, and hope, Beyond Awkward Side Hugs invites us to leave behind eroticized, fear-based patterns and move toward gendered, generous relationships between men and women of character as we love one another as Jesus did.
Beyond Awkward Side Hugs is a deep well of biblical wisdom, and Lea has written with nuance and clarity, humor and grace.” –Jen Pollock Michel, author of Surprised by Paradox and Keeping Place
“The church desperately needs a bigger vision for how men and women can flourish together in ministry and friendship, and Bronwyn Lea paints a vivid picture for how we’ll get there.” –Steve Wiens, author of Shining Like the SunBeginnings, and Whole 

Amazon /  Books-A-Million / Barnes & Noble  Thomas Nelson


Note: This book addresses the issue of men and women relationships, and how they can work in a Christian setting. It hits not only upon situations relating to married adults but also addresses the entire issues of dating and relationships outside of this entire 'sexual' sphere. It is appropriate for older teens.

While traditional Christians are brought up with the idea that certain activities are only allowed after marriage, the author of this book takes a look beyond that narrow definition of relationships between male and females and recognizes that marriage is not the only, tight box of life. Men and women engage in other ways as well.

She starts by describing the various forms of relationships and love before discussing the various situations in which men and women interact...many of these having nothing to do with the more sensual relationships, which first pop into the head when a man, women relationship is mentioned. She continues to slide through dating, marriage, being single, friendship, neighbor relationships, work relationships, and so on, using scripture as well as true experiences to make her point.

I'm not a huge fan of relationship literature and was a bit skeptical when I received this one, but the author does a lovely job of discussing an often overseen theme. The book does take the stance that intimacy before marriage is not appropriate, but that's the only 'rule' it sticks to and isn't the main theme, anyway. The intentions of this book are to open up the notion that there is more to men and women than physical intimacy. This isn't a book about wrong or right or even trying to preach about how life should be lived. Rather, it takes apart the narrow views of gender relationships in general. The use of Bible verses grounds the religious aspects, but most of the thoughts are explained through usual life situations.

The themes and points are delivered in a laid back manner, but this still isn't a read to breeze through. Each point is thoroughly discussed and explained using several directions. In other words, readers will need to put on their thinking caps and following the arguments. But these aren't difficult to understand. The entire thing comes across logically and without pressure, making it a well-done read.

And here she is...

Bronwyn Lea is a writer, bible teacher, lawyer and ice-cream addict with twenty years of pastoral ministry experience. She heads up Propel Sophia, the Christian living wisdom resource for Propel Women, and is on the pastoral staff of her local church. Bronwyn is mom to three school-aged kids, who keep her somewhere between hilarious laughter and desperate prayer on any given day. She and her fellow South African husband live in Northern California, where they count the men and women in their church as not just friends, but family.

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1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

It definitely sounds like one that leaves you thinking after you read it to figure out where you are on each point. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours