I’m going with appropriate, though in the past I would have said “uptight.”
Billy Graham had a rule. He was a powerful man, away from his wife and children more often than he was with them. Aware of the significance of his reputation and convinced of the moral value of the Gospel message, he took precautions to guard against his own human weakness. He gave his ministry colleagues explicit instructions: never leave me alone in a room with a woman who is not my wife.
This article is about how marriage is hard–harder for evangelical Christians than others, apparently. But since it’s true–marriage is very hard–admitting that will be the first step toward curbing our divorce/adultery epidemic. If marriage matters, and I think we all know it does, we would do well to start taking it a bit more seriously. Even if that means instituting “over the top” rules about not being in a room alone with a woman/man who is not your spouse.
Rebecca adds: Interesting. There’s a similar concept in Judaism which prohibits the seclusion of an unrelated adult man and woman, and the reasoning is the same. I go back and forth as to how useful this is in reality.
It’s true that if you’re never alone with someone of the opposite sex, you’re highly, highly unlikely to have an improper relationship with them – unless you’re so brazen that you’d do it in front of witnesses, in which case you have other issues. I worry that taking it to extremes can hinder all kinds of other things – I know male professors who won’t meet with a student of the opposite sex in their office, even during work hours, with the door open, but rather meet in a public room (for reasons other than religion), and while this may be prudent, it’s also sad that a closer, mentor-student relationship can’t be forged. And some (extremely) strict rabbinical interpretations forbid adult men from being alone with even underaged children, even if they’re relatives, although I’ve yet to meet people who follow this ruling. Of course, if your attractions are not to the opposite sex, does it follow that you should never be alone with anybody? That would make normal social and work interactions tricky, to say the least.
Nevertheless, whether Billy Graham’s approach is a bit over the top or not, the pendulum has swung so far in the direction of blurring boundaries, obliterating privacy, and loosened norms that a steering in this direction can only be an improvement, even if we disagree about what the theoretical ideal would be.
Brigitte says: If the choice is between uptight and this, I’ll take uptight any day.by