Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Nature and Tendencies

Human nature is complex and complicated. We are all unique creations of God. However, it is the combination and the degree of our attributes and characteristics that make us unique. Rarely is a single attribute of any one person unique. God seems to have used building blocks that are combined with our life experiences and choices to make us who we currently are. Some people rise above the limitations they were created with while others never live up to their potential.

It would be absolutely false for me to claim all men behave a certain way and all women behave a different way. There is very, very, little that is true for all men and very, very, little that is true for all women. However, if the tendencies of men were plotted on a graph, the resulting graph would look like a bell shaped curve. There would be some men on both ends of the graph and a big hump in the middle of attributes and characteristics of most men. The same is true of women. A graph of all humans would be two overlapping bell shaped curves. The female graph would start inside the male graph and the male graph inside the female graph.

When I refer to male nature or female nature, I only do so because I don’t have a better word to use. What I am actually referring to is the downside of both bell shaped curves; not the big hump in the middle, but the parts of our nature that seem to be mostly male and mostly female.

There are men who rarely talk and when they do talk, their words are very precise. There are women who are never quiet and whose words are explaining three things at once. The men who rarely talk are an example of an extreme male attribute and the women who are never quiet are an example of an extreme female attribute. This description does not describe most men or most women; it just describes a difference between an extreme attribute of men and an extreme attribute of women.

When my oldest daughter was very young, I could tell she was different than the boys her age. She was 100% girl. I was so happy when my second daughter was born because I wanted another 100% girl. However, it didn’t take me long to discover that my second daughter has a little boy inside of her. She has just turned six years old. Her mouth moves at 100 miles a minute except when she is serious about a game she is playing or a picture she is drawing; then it’s all business.

One of the points I have been trying to make in the relationship discussion and the Church ownership discussion is that we need to be aware of human nature, male tendencies, and female tendencies. The nature and tendencies we were born with are not sinful. However, the choices we make based on our nature and tendencies can be sinful. It has long been accepted within Christianity that males need to control their sexual nature. Sex with a spouse is good, but unlimited and unrestricted sex leads to all kinds of sinful problems. Relationships may be the female equivalent to male sex. Relationships are good and essential to the Body of Christ. However, an insatiable appetite for relationships needs to be controlled.

In my next post, I hope to get to how this has affected the Church.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

David,

I don’t get it. Maybe you could clear things up for me by defining the word “relationship”.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Jennifer,

At least you are trying to get it. Maybe my next post will make a few ideas more clear. Thanks for hanging in there. I imagine most women would think I’m nuts and most men would think why bother.

Teresa said...

I just have to wonder David, what you are basing your information on? Is it ONLY your personal observation, or have you done studies, read studies... One thing that you said that is contrary to scripture is the sin nature: because of Adam and Eve, we were ALL born with a "sin" nature (even a sin gene) and with sinful tendencies. You are jumping around so much dude that I cannot understand where you are going. Help!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Teresa,

I don’t claim to have any exclusive knowledge. I do claim to be willing to challenge conventional wisdom. I thought that is what you and I had in common.

At my job, I get paid to solve problems. My boss doesn’t care if I use references or if I just figure out the problem and the solution myself. I don’t sit around and wait for someone else to analyze and solve a problem. That’s not who I am.

I call my blog “Contrarian Views” for a reason. I want to write about topics from a unique and distinct perspective in ways that haven’t been discussed by others. I know you didn’t mean to insult me, but in effect you are claiming that little ole me has no right to an opinion that is not validated by experts. Quite frankly, I often wonder why so many others need their view to be validated by experts before they have the confidence to articulate an opinion. I do not hold so tightly to my views that I can’t be persuaded by evidence to the contrary, but I am confident enough to know my views may be valid without the affirmation of a single other person, expert or not.

I have 47 years of living and I listen to Dr. Laura [: -)] as a reference to write about relationships and some of the differences between male nature and female nature. I also have four brothers, four sisters, one mother, one wife, two daughters, a father-in-law, 5 brothers-in-law, 6 sisters-in-law, and 13 nephews and nieces. I’ve moved around more than most, I’ve held more jobs than most, I’ve been a member of more Churches than most, including Catholic, Baptist, and Non-denominational, I’ve learned from the tons of mistakes I‘ve made, and yes, I have observed the decisions and mistakes of others. The older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know and how much I used to know that was completely wrong. Some of what I now know is wrong is still believed by the experts.

I don’t believe I wrote anything that is contrary to Scripture. Adam and Eve were born without sin. From the point that they sinned, all humans have been born into a world that has been affected by sin. All of us sin because we have free will to sin. We are also born with certain tendencies or nature. Our nature is not what is sinful, it is our choices that are sometimes sinful. Perhaps this conflicts with your interpretation of Scripture, but I don’t think it conflicts with Scripture. As always, I am open to being shown the error of my ways, but I will not concede I have opposed Scripture just because I am accused of opposing Scripture. I know the Bible doesn’t say a single word about genes. Would it be fair for me to accuse you of writing something that conflicts with Scripture?

I really am not jumping around. If I could start over, I would lay out my arguments in a more structured form, but I am still leading up to the point that the Church is not all about relationships; at least not relationships as understood by most women. The over-emphasis on relationships, as understood by most women, has hurt the Church in making disciples of men. It seems to me that this would start to click with you and Jennifer, but I will keep marching on with my explanation until it becomes futile to continue.