Who’s on this episode?

Jeff Strommen @jstrommen | Dave Wager @wagerdaw | Todd @toddmcilhany

Every person is searching for intimacy. But what is intimacy? Here’s an idea, the next person you see, ask them to define that word. You can reasonably expect the ones who are willing to attempt to answer will say something about sex, generally between a man and a woman. And really, they couldn’t be more wrong. This week, Jeff and Dave welcome back Todd to the show to break down what it means to have intimate relationships.

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Show Notes

todd_tw_2016Welcome back, Todd!

Todd is an NBI Graduate serving as the Media Specialist at Silver Birch Ranch. He was on the show with us back when we first started. He and his wife, Sarah, will be expecting their first child in July.


This TED Talk is amazing. Robert Waldinger talks about one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies on lifetime happiness. From their website:

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.


What’s the big idea?

  1. Intimacy is about developing and growing deep bonds with another person. It is about closeness and familiarity. Members of the same gender can (and should) have intimate relationships. The greater the number of deep bonds we have with people, the more we understand love. However, in a culture where “everything is sexual,” we are not connecting with those around us in a way that is healthy. When we only equate intimacy with sex, we know not the true purpose and meaning of both intimacy and sex.
  2. Deep affection or bonds with a person of the same gender does not change your sexual orientation. At HopeNet 360, we are inclusive of people from all backgrounds, regardless of who they are or how they self-identify. There are no checkboxes to mark if you are gay, straight, transgendered, etc. All of humanity needs hope. All of humanity is despairing because of their inability to perfect themselves, even with the help of other people. Every person is made to bond with God and bond with people. Sexual orientation, as big of a deal as people make it to be today, is actually a really small part of who we are as humans.


[Tweet “”When you don’t acknowledge people’s differences and strengths, it holds everybody back.” -Todd #HNRTB”]


“I’m not gay, but…”

Jean Paul-Bedard writes:

I was taking inventory of the meaningful friendships in my life, and it became clear to me that although I have many male friends, all of these relationships are collegial, superficial, or competitive. […] Herein lies the problem, and I believe it raises two questions. First, why as a society do we equate intimacy and vulnerability with sex? Two, why have we associated strong ties between men as either indicative of homosexuality or propagation of institutionalized patriarchy?

Aristotle referred to Platonic friendships between men as the societal “ideal”. In the 19th century, male friendships were more sentimental and were marked with endearing language that by today’s standards, would be construed as “queer.”

Somewhere along the way, it became more difficult for men to turn to other men for the intimacy we all long for in a meaningful relationship. […] Men now view one another as competitors rather than colleagues.


Links & Articles

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | TED Talk

I’m Not Gay But I’d Like To Have An Intimate Relationship With A Man | Jean-Paul Bedard (Huffington Post Canada)

Intimacy With God | OpenBible.info

Hope for Those Who Don’t Want to Parade with Pride

Trey Pearson, a Popular Christian Rocker, Tells Fans He’s Gay | NY Times


It’s time for Summer Camp at Silver Birch Ranch!