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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It ain't just hard out here for pimps

This is a picture of two bueyes connected by a yoke. I didn't fully understand the verse, "Don't be unevenly yoked" until I saw this image in Costa Rica. The idea, hard for us modern, removed-from-nature Americans, is that when two animals are connected by the large iron or wood PLANK, they have to be going in the SAME DIRECTION. My friend A has been talking about being "evenly yoked" a lot lately.

I love talking to my girls A and N; I have really smart, cool friends. I actually think this is why they are still single. My best girls are atheletic, can talk sports, but still be the prettiest and most feminine creatures in a room. Honestly, I think about my friends often, "If I were a guy, I'd be all over that". My friends not only have successful and interesting careers, but they do work that significantly impacts the quality of life in Chicago (and for some of us, our work is spreading across the country). They are grounded, spiritually strong and disciplined, loving, kind, honest, don't sit around gossiping about and hating on other women. It's a solid crew...did I mention, beautiful?

It's hard out here for smart, independent, accomplished women. It's hard to be what A has been referring to as "EVENLY YOKED".

My youth pastors and parents would warn us as teenagers that we should not wind up "unevenly yoked"; their warnings helped me to conjure up extreme images of a woman hosting solemn prayer circles while her drunken husband stammered in, interrupting fighting and swearing.

"Unevenly yoked" doesn't have to be this extreme, even though spiritual and/or religious convictions (or lack of) are included. It can be as simple as career goals, intellect, academic goals, travel personality (this may be a stretch), "phil" or "phob" of kids.

My friends and I have a hard time finding men who share values and life defining experiences. Caveat: OCCASIONALLY, WE MAY MEET A MAN WHO SHARES VALUES AND CONVICTIONS, BUT that chemistry or spark or "thing" just may not be there.

The other day, I made a mental note of the men I've met over the last couple of years. This is what I've come across:

1. The 23 year old ( I took his number while out with co-workers having wings--I was pressured to be 'open' )who asked me, on our first and ONLY date, if I had ever had a one night stand. In his unsophisticated manner, he explained the methods he used to keep from impregnating a woman. I was disgusted...for many reasons...amongst them, how much he complained about his job at Footlocker.

2. The 30 something who sent me a text asking, "What's the contraction for 'is not'"?

3. The "I hate women" 40 something year old...burned by lots of failed relationships

4. The MANY late 30 somethings player activists artists who just have major commitment issues or who only share my values and convictions about education, politics, and community empowerment (the way they've treated a number of women in the city scares me--word gets out.)CAVEAT: ALL LATE 30 SOMETHING ACTIVISTS/ARTISTS AREN'T ALL COMMITMENTPHOBES AND IMMATURE PLAYERS. This shoe should only be worn if it fits.
4b. The late 30 something "nice guy" who can barely have a conversation or formulate a question on a date (too self conscious?)

5. The 25 year old who actually tried to "sweet talk" me and massage my foot on our first and ONLY date to the movies. Apparently, this pschobabble worked on other women. He was quite confident. Gorgeous, confident, awesome body, but tried to play the "Cassanova" role (turn off; just be naturally interesting), and not too much substance. He turned into a mild stalker and would call at late hours.

6. The 50 year old+ men at church with kids my age. Enough said.

7. The 15 year old- boys who think...I don't know what they think, honestly.

You may think, "Well maybe the guy who asked about the contraction for 'is not' is not that bad". I have considered a PhD. For me, that question is a's not a judgment of him, but in MY CASE, he's not a good fit for me. We'd be "unevenly yoked".

I've heard black and brown fathers, uncles, family friends warn women like me, "You're going to educate yourself out of a husband." Seems they may have been right. Would I trade it all, though? It's hard out here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

αγάπη/AGAPE/Disinterested Love

Disinterested love. The adjective "disinterested" sounds a little like "apathetic", "lathargic", "passive". The adjective, as it is used, however, is anything but these things. Disinterested love is defined as follow, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Strength to Love:

For Dr. King, the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ was agape αγάπη, disinterested love, and it was infused with a necessary love for one's fellow man. Agape, "unconditional love" is identified by King as "understanding and creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. An overwhelming love which seeks nothing in return, agape is the love of God operating in the human breast. When Jesus bids us to love our enemies, he is speaking of agape. Only by following this way, and responding with this type of love, are we able to be the children of our Father who is in heaven." [from Strength to Love]

Disinterested love is a love that is not extended to another because he/she merits that love. In fact, the person to whom love is extended may not "DESERVE" the love at all--the one to whom love is extended may be incredibly selfish, hateful, vengeful, jealous, mean spirited, etc. Disinterested love is not extended in order to receive anything back. I have often heard of romantic love described as transactions: "If you give me this, I'll give you that. If you rub my feet, I'll rub your back. If you stop brining home a paycheck, I'm outta here" Perhaps romantic love is like this because it requries RELATIONSHIP. LOVE AND RELATIONSHIP are two very, very different things.

AGAGE, or Disinterested love, can happen even when there is no relationship. I have chosen to love a couple of people with whom I just cannot have a relationship. The level of mutual and reciprocal respect, care, concern, and investment is not there. Agape is the highest, purest form of love because one can truly care for the greatest spiritual, emotional, personal development of another without having a relationship. It is the love of God. It is pure. It is rare. It would spare us many of the wars and violence we see across the globe. It would make our communities more peaceful. It would help us to forgive those who hurt us.