What The Publishers Say About Beyond Awkward Side Hugs
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.
What I Say About Beyond Awkward Side Hugs
As someone who “grew up in the church” and didn’t hear a lot about the options for male and female friendship that could lead to dating but could just as easily be examples of healthy, platonic Christian sister and brotherhood, the concept behind this book is one that interested me greatly as in both the church and the wider society, there seems to be limited avenues to explore relationships between the genders without someone assuming that your next step should be down the aisle toward marriage.
In Beyond Awkward Side Hugs, author Bronwyn Lea offers such a framework, bypassing the hyper-sexed expectations of the world with its ubiquitous emphasis on the eros manifestation of love, and normalizing the other filial and agape relationships. I enjoyed how she explored the Freudian ideas of sexuality, broke down ideas that have been hammered into our subconscious from the time we’re children, and offered alternative suggestions for how men and women can be friends, where the benefits are just solid friendship. Moreover, I appreciated how while she discussed dating, she also emphasized the normalcy of singleness and focused on the development of the whole person, instead of just presenting a dating playbook. This is a book that I would feel comfortable putting in the hands of any young person who is looking to build a healthy social network before they build a family.
What The Peer reviewers Say About Beyond Awkward Side Hugs
“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 Sun, Beginnings, and Whole
Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing and TLC Book Tours for providing a complimentary copy in order for me to complete this review. All views expressed above are my own.