But, emotion is largely a visceral response to stimuli; even dogs
have emotion. What separates us from animals, what makes us more
like God, is not our basic instinct but our ability to bring those
instincts and desires under *submission* to our intellect. Emotion
infantilizes and exploits. Intellect empowers and liberates. Too
many of us miss our goals and live beneath our privilege because
we’re slaves to the former.
I want to rush to say my sisters are not alone in this. I know a
great many brothers, including many, many pastors, with hair-trigger
tempers and attention deficits that have them evading logic and
reason like it was a paternity suit. The phenomena with which I am
more concerned is not the histrionic unthinking male—a demographic
from which this writer is not excluded—but the thoughtful,
intelligent, capable, remarkable, enlightened black woman who
nonetheless chooses to lose her mind and go running after ice cream
trucks whenever she hears the bell ring.
Most sisters I’ve ever known can’t tell time, don’t know what time
it is in their lives. They simply rush headlong into whatever
situation, whatever predicament, whatever mess comes along.
Oh, but I love him. Sisters: get a grip. That's God's
plan you're messing up. They were fourteen and thought it was time to
start a family. Their emotions overwhelming them, they craved love
and ran their little kid lives off of emotion and Pavlovian
responses—chasing the ice cream truck when they heard the music
playing. Intellect tells you the Ice Cream Man is trying to get
paid: he’ll wait for you, there’s absolutely no reason to ever run
after his truck. Intellect tells you real love is patient but
teenage boys are not. Teenage boys aren’t interested in starting a
family, but that’s what they do because my sisters let them do it.
Because they ignored every word Mama ever told them and laid across
their schoolbooks in some ridiculous effort to hang onto JoJo—a
stupid boy they won’t even be talking to three months later when the
test results come back.
Most every sister I knew in junior high or high school was
incredibly easy. As a result, most every sister I know is dragging
around some hatred for a brother. That hate holds my sister in
bondage; she gives up her power to her emotion, just as she did long
before, back when she called that emotion “love.” Whether love or
hate, bondage is still bondage and bondage results in powerlessness.
A woman’s body, her allure, is her most lethal weapon. Silly girls,
lazy and undisciplined, unilaterally disarm themselves with
childbirth and fried food. The mature sister treats her body like
the Temple of the Holy Ghost; she keeps the thieves out.
A brother will always crave that which he cannot have, those whom he
cannot dominate. The easy girls were easy to spot. They were loud,
all up in everybody’s business, often vulgar and incredibly obvious.
They liked it and they wanted it as often as they could get it.
God’s woman, by contrast, is independent, mature, thoughtful. Slow
to speak, quick to listen, and never, ever tells anyone outside of
God Himself what she truly feels.
Foolish little girls think having a baby is the way to keep her
“man.” A wise woman knows a baby is often the fastest way to lose
one. A foolish mother exhausts herself in courtrooms seeking revenge
on Baby Daddy. A wise sister knows the best way to provide for her
children is to keep Daddy from leaving in the first place.
Chasing The Ice Cream Truck:
Snap judgments, finishing my sentences, closed to new ideas,
presuming she knows what I'm going to say, more invested in winning the fight than solving the problem.
Most sisters I’ve ever met refuse to hear anything I have to say. My words just
bounce off their force field as they go on being ridiculous and
making ridiculous choices, sometimes just to spite me. I’ll show
him, I’ll go on being ridiculous even though I know what I am doing
is inefficient and/or stupid. Like one sister I know who hates her husband so much she
adamantly refuses to give him a divorce. Even though she lives in
another city and they haven’t been together in a decade, she’s
staying married to him out of spite; just to prevent him from
remarrying. This seems logical to her.
I'm not saying sister doesn't have a case, doesn't have a valid
reason or right to be angry. I'm saying she should not allow her
anger to run her. Most sisters I know brace against most anything
any man has to say, mainly because she resents the idea of some man
running her. Yet these very same women routinely allow their
emotion—love, hate, anger—to run them. Be angry, Paul wrote, [but]
sin not. Being angry is human. Living our life solely to make
someone else suffer is not only childish, it strips you of power;
you're giving that man enormous power in your life.
I’m never trying to run sister’s life. I’m here to help, here to
support, here to listen. Maybe if I was taller, thinner, younger or
better looking. Most sisters I know are very much like children or,
at best, adolescents: they’d take me more seriously if I had money
or if they were sexually attracted to me. It’s insane, but that’s
the ninth-grade recess level of logic most sisters I know employ in
their lives. They process every decision, every logical choice,
through their vagina; the level of sexual attraction they
feel toward the male trying to speak to them directly impacts their ability to hear that person.
Their vanity insists any conversation I have for them is prelude
and, consequently, their simply listening to what I have to say is
some manner of acquiescence to a sexual advance. They learned that
in high school where, for the most part, that axiom was true. But,
we’re grown-ups, now.
The common stereotype of Madea or Aunt Esther should shame my
sisters: no one wants to be thought of as a joke. But neither
satire would be funny if there weren’t truth in it: women having
given themselves completely over to illogic and hair-trigger tempers
while claiming Christ. An actual Christian sister is
self-controlled. She is patient. She is often silent--yes, silent,
as Paul admonished. She is at peace with
herself and on a journey with God she will not allow to be disturbed
by LeRoy and his after-shave. She presents her body—her most lethal
weapon—as a living sacrifice; giving it wholly (without reservation)
and acceptable unto God. Her reward is often loneliness and
frustration, trusting God for the right time and the right season.
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be
filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns
and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of
reverence for Christ. —Ephesians 5:15-21
If I could say just one thing that might actually be received, get
processed, be considered by my sisters, it would be this: please get
that look off of your face: the pouty, impatient, intemperate,
judgmental, sarcastic glare so many of my sisters share with
virtually every man they meet. Rather, let us all submit ourselves one to
another [Ephesians 5], in love and in the fear of God. I'm so sorry that some
brother hurt you, but it wasn't me. Stop acting like a child and
we'll stop treating you like one.
Christopher J. Priest
2 May 2015
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