Thursday, December 23, 2010

conversation with a zealot

boy: I don't usually write random emails like this to strangers, but there are no words in the English language to describe how beautiful and enticing I think you are. I would love to communicate with you if given the chance and find out whether you are more than just looks and whether your intellect and personality are as breathtaking as your exterior. My name is *dude and I will patiently wait for your response. I hope that there is one. Take care.
girl [checks out FB profile and notices that he is of agnostic belief and she follows Jesus]:Thank you for the flattery. Unfortunately I am really wanting to become more of a follower of Jesus at this time in my life and would not entertain getting into a relationship with someone who did not also want the same thing. Have a great new year. Wishing you only the best.
boy: Interesting...And that in and of itself is so contradictory to Jesus' teachings and also closed-minded.
girl:My perspective is actually not contradictory to Jesus' teachings; and most people would not find Jesus "open-minded" by today's standards since he says in very clear terms that he is the ONLY way to God. Jesus clearly portrays himself as being an heir of God sent to do several things on the earth, namely being redeeming mankind from the off-course trajectory that humanity was on. Jesus also then makes it clear that God now expects us, the recipients of redemption, to believe that Jesus was sent for that purpose and to be like Jesus in the world. I am sorry to be blunt but agnosticism does not follow after Jesus. It seems that you wrote to me because you would be interested in us having a relationship based on attraction. For me to have that kind of relationship with someone we have to share the same God. I have no problem being friends with people of all kinds of belief but the same does not hold true for who i will date and i do not apologize for that.
boy: If you says so...Trust me, you don't want to get in a theological debate with me.
girl:You should read Jesus's teachings. You are likely to find that modern culture portrays him as being more tame and not as radical and extreme as he really was.
boy:Actually you should read Jesus' teachings. I have actually read the Bible from cover to cover on 4 separate occasions. It is my quest for spirituality and also knowledge that brought me to feeling the way I do now. I am certain that you would not be able to have a truly fact-filled theological debate with me. There is no portrayal. You actually need to find facts instead of believing in a made-believe invisible being, that pulls strings.
girl: i do read my bible. i have read apologetic arguments and agnostic/ atheistic arguments. i have had experiences that no one can take away from me and based on all of that I choose to believe. and you are right, i have no desire to get in a debate with you.
boy:I know, religious radicals almost never have the ability to view beyond their superstition.
girl:Firstly, I am not religious. Secondly, I do not believe in superstition. Third, your earlier comment about being hypocritical is evidence that you do not know who Jesus was as a political figure in his day, which is why I suggested that you read about him. Either way you are entitled to your Opinions.
boy:LOL. Definition of RELIGIOUS: 1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity (a religious person), (religious attitudes); 2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances (joined a religious order); 3a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful
b : fervent, zealous.
What's funny is that you can't prove anything you claim to hold as a fact. You step out in so-called faith. I call that stepping out on ignorance. Christ's story is not even original, it has been told over and over again in other cultures and thousands of years before Christ's birth. LOL. Funny!!
girl:Actually, by your demonstrated definition of religious, any "zealous" person would be religious, that includes your zealousness for this discussion, any die-hard football follower or member of a coveted group. Therefore your definition has no specificity to identify only a selected group. 
In regards to Jesus not being original, that is not based on fact. Jesus is the only of all those having stories similar to his, to have actually been proven to have lived on the earth. Those other stories are folklore and do not have evidence to support that the protagonists actually ever existed. There are many records of Jesus life and exploits, beyond the bible. Check your facts.
boy:HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ignorance is bliss!
girl: EXACTLY ! Well said. Merry Christmas homie. Maybe one day you will see something that was always in front of your eyes.
boy:LOL Okay...Merry Christmas to you too...

Response to a facebook post

Opinion: “A woman's responsibility is to prepare to be found. She was not made to initiate! The man must actively pursue her. In fact, he will enjoy the chase as much as she enjoys being chased! I would argue that there isn't a shortage of good men. Rather, there is an abundance of unprepared, overly eager women!”
1st response: While I agree that women are to be prepared to be found and many of us are not preparing ourselves properly, I think the reality that women outnumber men several times over at most places of worship-- with the exception of sporting arenas-- supports the perception that there are not enough good men out there. Please do not completely excuse men from the equation.
2nd opinion:Kia, I understand what you're saying. I didn't intend to leave the men out. I just wanted to paint a different picture seeing that men are typically bashed all the time by women who are unemotionally prepared to handle them. Also, the mentioning of the outnumbering of women to men is irrelevant and fearful. God is sufficient, and those statistics are wordly.

2nd response

Imagine a college football player in his junior season. He has so much potential but has yet to really get featured. Some pesky injuries have kept him from fully bringing his best playing to this year’s games. At the end of the spring season, with his heart set on hopefully going pro after a successful senior year, would you blame him for being anxious and strategizing for how to achieve success in the upcoming last year. He knows that this dream really only comes once in a lifetime--there is no going back to this stage of his youth, when he is older, to get a second chance. Would you be surprised if he was anxious about the very finite nature of his dream? Let us change scenarios. Now imagine a woman, who dreams longingly of having a family.  She is not married & has no boyfriend.  She has gone to college to be able to work and support herself and is coming up to her 33rd birthday.  She knows that her fertility level will change in 2 short years, and even more so in 5 years. She hears that “advanced maternal age” clock ticking. Is she anxious and probably overly eager? Probably just as much as that football player is about making it pro. Will making her feel like she is just plain wrong, for being eager, solve her anxiety? Likely not.  What does this woman need from others?
    She needs positive affirmation from people in her life to trust in God and to start to call in the blessings of God that she is desiring. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. She needs to be encouraged to put her hope in God. And it’s not enough to tell her these things, she has to walk through the process and transform her whole paradigm. 
    She also needs friendboys in her life to not lead her on deceivingly, but to give her clear signals. Sir if you are not interested do not string her along. She will misread your ambiguity because she is half distracted by that dang clock ticking in her head.  
    She also needs to be affirmed to be true to her self. I would imagine that all kinds of people would be offering that football player advice on how to make it to the pros. Just like all kinds of people give advice to single women. Some men say, “don’t be afraid to make the first move; guys like it when women ask them out sometimes”. Other men say, “men should be the hunters and women the hunted”. Some women tell testimonies of their successful marriage to a man that they pursued; even Ruth in the bible basically initiated her relationship with Boaz. So when a woman gets confused about the course to take to exit out of singledom, cut her some slack. Is there only one way to get into a successful relationship? Probably not. A woman needs to be true to herself and not lose her identity en route to just finding any man to raise a family with. But who is to say how she and that Boaz will be united. 
To end i will touch on the idea of preparedness. I don’t think either men or women are ever fully prepared for marriage. In general men do not really understand women and women do not really understand men. Yes, there are steps you can take to help transition more easily into a marriage, but it is still going to be hard work with a lot of learning and deciphering of the other person. 
Women get picked on all the time for being hormonal and wanting babies and being under the pressure of “the clock”; not to mention being the overall subjects of aggravated violence and being often reduced to the sum of their ass-ets. Just because a gentleman feels like men get bashed too much does not, in my opinion, warrant another finger-pointing at women who get the brunt of too much negativity in the universe. Single women need affirmation, protection, understanding, patience, guidance and they need to feel loved.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Over-confident Brotha (or Sista)

My friend and once I coined the term Over-confident Brotha, during a storytelling of a gent who thought so highly of himself that he could not perceive the characteristics he possessed that lowered his appeal (or as I like to say, his market value).  My mother says that many Caribbean mothers instill in their sons and idea that they are prized cock and that any woman they have eyes for, should recognize that they are a prized cock--even if they do not have jobs, or are much older than she, or are not in shape, or are sickly, or have kids, when she does not, and the list goes on. When talking with my mother about some of my suitors who, in our shared opinion, had an inflated sense of market value, she would often respond, “he has some nerve, what makes him think that you would even like him? He is too...[insert one of the dequalifiers mentioned previously].” Interestingly, I was once chastised for talking about someone being out of their league, when they tried to talk to me.  The commenting gent thought it was arrogant of me to have had a perception that some men are not worth me getting to know, let alone, date. So now I wonder, have I been raised to have an over-inflated sense of self and my own marketability? What is the difference between knowing your worth as a match and being arrogrant & overtly conceited? How does a woman set a standard for who would be compatible for herself without coming off as exclusionary & narrow minded?
One of the riotously funny cartoons about black dating (on youtube) has a dialogue where the lady says she won’t settle for less than she deserves, which is a rapper-type, who is taller than 6’3”, who will buy her diamonds and expensive clothes & cars, and has a body like some other rapper, and a host of other ridiculous things. In response to deserving the material things, the gent in the cartoon replies, “why do you deserve those things when you cannot buy them for yourself?” I remember my brother commenting that “big-boned” women always liked him for his height and frame, but he wondered why they thought he was a match for them when he thought they were out of shape. Insight seems to be the key issue here. When one looks in the mirror, does one have an accurate perception of how attractive they are, as a package of characteristics, to the outside world? But what about when you have a modest view of yourself, but those you trust sing your praises and encourage you to not think less of yourself--I feel like this is my case.  I have been rebuked by family members when I dated people they did not think were “on my level”. So have I been trained to be over-confident? 
Compatability.  Standards. Expectations. Lists. Compatability seems to be in the eye of the beholder. For some it is okay to have characteristics that their partner does not have. This appears in movies all the time: In Daddy’s Little Girls, the highly-educated and financially successful, never had kids woman, falls for the less educated, not so financially successful father of two (with a crazy baby momma); and in Why did I get Married?, the obese divorcee snags the hot bodied very handsome brother; In Something’s Gotta Give, both the main protagonists have relationships with people nearly half their age.  So, sometimes (at least in the movies) opposites not only attract but also have a happy ending. Was it really arrogant of me, as a young, decent-looking, physically fit, university-educated, never been married or prego-ed, career-driven, Jesus- following woman to have thought that the cat-calling, looks like he’s as old as my dad, homely, very likely only high-school educated, probably more than one baby-mama having brotha on the street was out of his league? Probably, but truth be told, maybe my biggest fault was in voicing that he was out of his league instead of just thinking it. So should i fault a brother for taking a chance with me, when it is obvious to me that he will not float my boat? I guess not, if i am to accept the point of some movie script writers; maybe instead, I should start thanking these such brothas for daring to make it known to me that they found me attractive--because truth be told, there are many men who are more compatible who will not voice their attraction.  So at the least I can affirm their courage.  
When talking about one over-confident brotha, my mom’s take home point was, “consider it a compliment that he tried to talk to you, because guys like that [who have been raised to think that they are the cream of the crop] only go after the best girls.”  And once again, the training to think highly of myself.  I wonder, which is worse for a well-rounded woman in this day and age, to be over-confident or under-confident.  An over confident woman may be a turn off to some, but who’s to say that her holding out for a person who meets her higher-than average expectations won’t materialize into her meeting just the kind of guy she dreams of.  Who is to say that some men will not be attracted to her high confidence level and consider it a huge compliment when she pays any attention to them at all.  And who is to say that the under-confident woman is better off? What if she were to review her life with regret that she married someone she should not have, because she did not think she should have held out for someone with more to offer, especially when she had so much to give, herself. Hmm. I will end with several proverbs that talk about good women: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD” (18:22); “A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones” (12:4); “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (31:10). Interestingly, there is no parallel verse that I have seen in regards to a woman finding a good husband. My opinion: a good woman should know her worth & recognize that she should be regarded as a treasure and she should hold out for the man who floats her boat; and if some man that she would not talk to anyway, thinks that this is arrogant of her, then oh well--you can’t please everybody    ;-p