Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Are You A Sapiosexual?

Dear Friends,

I was reading last week that some schools are teaching their youngest students that there are no longer two genders (male/female); there are now 100 genders. And for those confused or simply wanting to spice up their life, you can be “gender and sexually fluid” meaning that some days you’re the macho man and the next day you’re singing the Helen Reddy song, “I Am Woman.” Back in the good old days, a couple of decades ago, there were two sexualities, heterosexual and homosexual, but today there are many politically-correct terms we can use to describe our sexuality and you can imagine my shock when I found that I am no longer considered to be a “heterosexual” (someone who is primarily physically attracted to a person of the opposite sex). So, I’ve decided to take a major step and make a bold confession to all my friends who are readers of the AMEN Corner. At this point in my life, I’m just too old to care about what people think of me. It’s time for me to come out of the closet and admit to you that I have been a life-long Sapiosexual.

A Sapiosexual is someone that is attracted to the other person’s intelligence more so than their physical attractiveness. Hey..I’m a guy.. so of course I appreciate a woman’s beauty but it’s in the category of “nice but not necessary.” What is most important for me is that she’s smart and someone I can talk to and banter and joke with. Someone who is articulate, both verbally and in writing (meaning they can communicate with actual correctly-spelled words instead of a string of emojis.) Someone who can beat me at Scrabble. Someone who would prefer to read a book than watch “Dancing With The Stars.” Psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez says that “If two people are intellectual equals, their longivity is much more likely, and their interest in each other more likely to remain strong.” For those of us “Sapiosexuals,” communication and connection are the most important elements in both romantic relationships and friendships. But really... Aren’t those the two elements that form the intellectually and emotionally intimate relationships that we all intrinsically crave?

Jesus said to love your neighbor and then He goes on to show us how to do that. Everyone He came into contact with, He came into relationship with. That’s the first step in loving our neighbor and yet we can find it difficult for us to do that even in church. Last week I had breakfast with a pastor friend of mine and we were talking about how to encourage deeper and more meaningful relationships among the people that we have been called to pastor. Too many connect only superficially after the service as we comment on the sermon and catch up on what the grandchildren and our painful bunions are doing. We crave deeper, more meaningful friendships but we just don’t know how to get there. Let’s look at some suggestions.

Parents become rightly concerned about the relationships their children have, knowing the power of “peer influence” on those still young and easily molded. But as adults we also continue to be influenced by those in our own tribe of friends. We are warned to avoid the bad friends that will corrupt our own good character 1 Cor 15:33 and those flaky and unreliable friends. Proverbs 18:24 NIV We can be easily ensnared by the bad habits of others Proverbs 22:24-25 and that’s why we need to be honest about our friendships. If your good habits are influencing and changing their bad habits, praise God. If their bad habits are influencing and changing your good habits, then set that relationship aside and choose wise friends who will influence your character for the good and encourage you to be a better person. Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Chief Ten Bears (Will Sampson) cuts the palm of his hand with his hunting knife and holds up the hand. Clint Eastwood as the “Outlaw Josie Wales” does the same and as they join hands, Ten Bears nods and says, “So will it be.” They have become blood brothers. Some Native American and African tribes still do this today as a solemn ceremony between two men that symbolically combines their blood to create an unbreakable bond. 

While you might want to leave the hunting knife in its sheath when you're at church, we can create that same covenant “blood brother” bond through communication and connection. We need to be kind, thoughtful, honest, encouraging and perhaps most of all, be other-centered. Hint: If you want a better friendship with someone, and all you know about them are the shallow things that float on the surface of their life, you may need to do less talking and more listening. I talked to a church friend every Sunday for five years and then she told me that her parents had been murdered when she was 38 years old. That was a devastating, life-changing event in her life and for five years during our shallow “church” conversations, I had done too much talking and not enough listening to hear the unspoken pain in her broken heart and be the safe person she could share her story with. And yes, I’m embarrassed to tell you that I was also her pastor. 

Our covenant friends who love us enough to listen through, and over, and under our words, are the intimate friends who truly care about us. My definition of a covenant friend is one who has unconditional (agape) love and is committed to the other person’s personal and spiritual growth. A covenant friendship starts with deep communication that develops into connection. Those are the friends who are close by our side in the good times and the bad. When Job lost everything, his three friends came running to offer him their sympathy and comfort. Job 2:11 Those are covenant friends – the “blood brothers” – that we can count on. The ones who know that they can count on us.  Amen?

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